Polypharmacy for Seniors: Is Your Loved One Over-Prescribed?

Polypharmacy for Seniors: Is Your Loved One Over-Prescribed?

With more than a third of all 60-year-olds taking five or more prescription medications, it’s no surprise that problems are resulting from polypharmacy for seniors. Polypharmacy, defined as “…when an adverse drug effect is misinterpreted as a new medical problem – leading to the prescribing of more medication to treat the initial drug-induced symptom,” can result in a variety of additional health risks or worsening of existing conditions.

So how can you determine if medications for seniors are truly helping, or possibly doing more harm than good?

Before overmedication becomes a concern, it’s recommended that seniors and their caregivers take a careful inventory of prescriptions being taken, and have a plan in place for de-prescribing when needed. The following steps can help:

  • Put together a list of all medications, including prescriptions, OTC drugs, and vitamin or herbal supplements, and share with the primary care physician and pharmacist.
  • Request a review of both the medications themselves and dosage amounts. Often, negative side effects are realized from receiving too high a dose of a medication, and simply reducing the amount prescribed is effective.
  • Include in your medication review a discussion with the physician on any possible lifestyle changes that may be made as an alternative to prescriptions – such as improving diet and exercise plans to lower blood pressure and risk of heart attack or stroke.


Amy’s Helping Hands, the experts in senior care in Windsor-Essex and surrounding areas, is here to help in a variety of ways. We can:


  • Ensure medications for seniors are being taken exactly as prescribed with medication reminders
  • Provide transportation and accompaniment for seniors to doctors’ appointments and the pharmacy to review medications
  • Pick up prescription refills and run other errands
  • Keep a close eye on seniors for any adverse effects to medications and seek help immediately when needed
  • And much more

Contact us online or at 519.915.4370 any time for an in-home consultation to learn more about how our caregivers can help make sure the seniors you love are safe, healthy, and thriving with a full range of personalized in-home care services.