Medications can sometimes cause as many problems as they solve for the Sandwich Generation

Things to Investigate When Solving Our Aging Parents’ Medical Mysteries

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Medications can sometimes cause as many problems as they solve for the Sandwich GenerationIt can be hard, can't it? Trying to juggle all the needs of our elderly parents – starting with health issues and the medications they need to take. Especially when those same medications come with HUGE sheets of warnings, cautions, and concerns.

Over the years we've learned that not all medications work the same for different people – and that not all medications are right for the same person always. One example – my senior dad was prescribed one medication when he started showing signs of anxiety and possible "sundowning." What we didn't find out, until a VERY LONG two weeks later, is that the medication they gave him turned his mild symptoms into full-on angry dementia! What a blessing to have a hospice staff and doctor who worked closely with us and helped us to eventually switch his medication to one that worked well for him and gave me back the loving dad I'd always known. But what a frightening and frustrating time for us til that happened!

Another thing we've recently learned – a medication that helps many to easy pain from arthritis, sciatica, etc. did, indeed, help a senior relative of mine. However, she also developed chronic UTIs during the same time period. After a year, we did some research – discovered the long term medication can cause a UTI (urinary tract infection), albeit VERY RARELY. She decided to try not taking the medications (about two months ago). So far, so good – no more UTIs. She does have to take more pain pills (though not over-doing it) and use pain pads, like Salon Pas, more often. But it it keeps away those UTIs, that's well worth it. 

The more pills your aging parents take - the more the chance of complications - photo courtesy of the CDC

I have not shared the names of the medications ON PURPOSE. Both medications have helped many people and I don't want to scare anyone away from them. What I do want is to sound an alarm bell to keep track of what medications your senior parent is taking, WHEN they started taking them, and IF any new and problematic symptoms start to occur. If so, talk to your doctor and discuss experimenting to see if the medication is the cause and if there are any other options available. Sometimes it is important to take a medication, even if it causes problems. But if that's not the case, it may be wise to change medications or cut back. 

How about you and your Sandwich Generation family? Have you experienced this kind of headache before? We'd love to hear your suggestions and comments. 

Beverly's Got tons of cute pink things each Saturday to put a smile on the face of the Sandwich Generation dealing with the issues of caring for the elderly parents and babysitting grandchildren

The Wright Stuff
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    • Stacey Jennings
    • March 6, 2013

    First of all, I’d like to say great post! Yes, my grandparents take a lot of medication and keeping track of what they take can be hard. My grandpa took medication for his prostate and things just got worse. So I totally agree with you, keep track of your grandparents medication. It is important to keeping them healthy!

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