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Caring For Our Elders
by Trino Medina, RPh
Doctors Renaissance Hospital Clinical Pharmacist, CVS Clinical Pharmacist
published May 2017

I went to go visit my elderly friend at the local Day Care center here in Alamo. I asked him how he was doing to which he responded that he was as well as could be expected for an 89 year old.

He continued to tell me that his whole body was aching! His hands were shaking from his arthritis. His legs were unstable from the osteoporosis. He had trouble walking so he recently acquired a walker. He could not hear very well so had to get a hearing aid. He was taking 10 pills in the morning and 12 in the evening. He then took a look at my sports car outside and took out his wallet and with a big grin on his face told me he still had his license so was still able to drive!

Mother's Day is fast approaching and this article is dedicated to all the moms out there! I take care of my elderly mom and it has been a learning adventure. She is 87 years old and has to use a walker to move around. Her bones are always hurting. She usually remembers everything from her childhood on, but at times gets confused with names and places, especially when she takes her pain pills. The only thing she has going for her is her vision, she had cataract surgery several years ago so her vision is better than mine! My mom is just like many other elderly people, struggling with health issues but happy to be with her family.

Many elderly people have to deal with incontinence, immobility and cognition issues. Most pharmacies carry adult diapers in different sizes, brands and prices. I recommend you find out if your insurance covers the cost of incontinence items like diapers, bed pads, bed pans, toilet chairs and tubing. Many pharmacies can help you with the insurance billing.

Some insurance companies also cover canes, walkers and wheel chairs. Insurance companies can limit the brands or the cost so you may need to pay the difference for a better brand that does not leak or better tubing that does not break as easily. I recommend you pay the difference if possible to avoid any embarrassing issues in public. Using a wheel chair may not be what most proud elderly people want but may be the most convenient to use when going on long walking trips or even going to get groceries. The elderly person does not get tired and it becomes easier for the caretaker to do other things.

Always remember to help elderly people to the bathrooms and showers! You want to avoid any falls! Elderly people have dry and brittle bones that can break with any fall or slip. I recommend a shower chair and toilet chair with rails for safety reasons. It is worth the cost for your loved ones security.

Many elderly people get put on Namenda or Aricept or the generics of these two to help with memory. Remember, medicines may slow the progression but will not cure the patient with cognitive issues like Alzheimer's. I recommend talking to your doctor about possible medicinal use for the slowing of any degenerative diseases including memory and bones. The doctor will be able to test your memory and your cognition. He can also perform test on bones! Elderly people like my mom have many issues to deal with so please help them out even if they don't ask for help!

Mother's day will come and go but please remember to tell your mom you love her and hug her. She won't be around forever and it is never too late to remind her that you are still her child even if you are getting closer to her in age!