If you have an aging loved one, they are most likely on some sort of prescription or over-the-counter medication. No matter what medical conditions they may have, whether they are due to old age or something even more severe, their medications are very likely to have side effects.
Almost every single medication in existence has a list of possible side effects that can range from dry mouth to nausea to possibly even kidney malfunction. These side effects don’t happen to everyone – in fact, most side effects are only listed on the medication’s information packet because they happened to just a few people (or even just one or two) during the testing phase of the medicine.
When side effects do happen, though, what can you do?
First, you need to talk to your doctor. They can tell you if a side effect will be a permanent part of your life as long as you continue to take the medication, or if it will go away after your body adjusts to the medication. That way, you, your loved one, and their senior care aide can all know how long to expect these side effects to last, and how long they have to manage them.
If the side effects are mild and seem to be sticking around, you can also ask your doctor if you can switch to a different medicine. In most cases, there are several different drugs that treat the same condition, you just have to find the one that is right for your loved one.
If you can’t switch, though, your loved one might just have to learn to live with the side effects. Here are some mild side effects and how to counteract them:
Dizziness – Don’t let your loved one stand up too quickly. Standing up slowly can keep them from becoming dizzy upon standing.
Diarrhea – Avoid spicy and fatty foods. Try to stick to bland things like apples, rice, and yogurt.
Drowsiness – This is a side effect that can possibly go away over time. However, it can be counteracted by asking your doctor if your loved one can take their medication at bedtime instead of during the day.
Dry mouth – Obviously drinking water can help with a dry mouth, but sucking on hard candy (try to make sure it’s sugar-free) or chewing sugar-free gum can stimulate the salivary glands and keep the mouth moister as well.
Upset stomach and nausea – Ask your loved one’s doctor if they can take their medication with food, as this may help keep it from affecting the stomach as much. Sucking on peppermint candy can also help to settle an upset stomach due to medication side effects, and eating bland foods can keep it calm as well.
It is important to keep in mind that the only side effects one should try to live with (if they have to) are mild ones. If your loved one is in serious pain, has trouble breathing, gets hives, or their face, mouth, or throat becomes swollen, they need immediate medical attention, as this is a sign of an allergic reaction, not just a side effect.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare in Jasper, TN, please contact the caring staff at Signal Point Home Care. Call 423-648-9821