They are the drugged-out generation, and they're not who you think they are.
They're 80. And 85 and 90 and 95 – overmedicated seniors clogging emergency departments, blocking hospital beds and sicker than they have any reason to be.
The Number 1 drug users in North America, outside of patients in long-term care facilities, are women over the age of 65. Twelve per cent are on 10 or more meds, sometimes up to 20 or more drugs; 23 per cent take at least five drugs. In long-term care, seniors are on six to eight medications, on average. Fifteen per cent of seniors admitted to hospital are suffering drug side effects. It's not uncommon to find seniors dizzy and dotty from being prescribed so many drugs.
"You'd fall down, too, if you were on so many drugs," says Dr. William Dalziel, a prominent Ottawa geriatrician.
Typically, overmedicated seniors have been seen by numerous specialists who have prescribed various medications to treat a host of chronic ailments – high blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease, cancer – but there hasn't been any oversight by a geriatrician skilled in looking at the big picture and assessing contra-indications and side effects. Ask any doctor with expertise in seniors what their top health concerns are and they all cite overmedication.
read more @ THE TORONTO STAR