Should You Be Concerned About Your Elderly Parent’s Opioid Use?

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According to an article posted by the National Institute on Aging, many doctors continue to prescribe high doses of opioids for a longer period of time than a patient may need.
This information comes from a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers looked at opioid prescriptions written between 2012 and 2017 for people with commercial insurance which were between the ages of 25 and 64. Although the data collected showed an encouraging downward trend in overall opioid prescriptions, there is still cause for concern about “high risk” prescriptions that put patients at risk for opioid addiction.

Homecare in Deerfield Beach FL: Senior Opioid Use
Homecare in Deerfield Beach FL: Senior Opioid Use

This information is significant for caregivers of older adults because seniors are not immune to the addictive properties of opioids. Seniors often receive prescriptions for opioids to control pain from chronic diseases or an injury. While they are safe when taken in appropriate doses for a short time, the high-dosage, long-term “high risk” prescriptions can lead to opioid abuse even in older adults. If your elderly parent is taking an opioid and you’re concerned about addiction, below are some signs that they may be in trouble.

Not Following Prescription Instructions

People who are abusing opioids often do not take them according to the instructions on the bottle. They may take two pills instead of one or take them every 2 hours instead of every 4 hours. They may tell caregivers they are taking a pill “just in case” the pain starts up again. This suggests they are using the drugs for the way they make them feel instead of using them to control pain.

Changes in Behavior

A person abusing opioids may start to behave in ways that are not typical for them. They might not want to spend time with friends and family, preferring to be left alone. They may also seem more irritable or nervous than usual. In some cases, opioids can also cause a person to seem like they are overly energetic. They might talk very quickly without making much sense. Caregivers might also notice mood swings. People abusing opioids may also make poor decisions that could bring harm to themselves or others.

Seeking Additional Medication

Because the older adult is taking more than they should be, they may tell a caregiver that they have “lost” the medication so that they can get another prescription filled. They might also borrow medicine from other family members or friends. Some people see multiple doctors to get more than one prescription.

If you or a family member are in need of Homecare in Deerfield Beach, FL, call the caring professionals at Star Multi Care today at (954) 870-4770. Providing service in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, Lighthouse Point, and Wilton Manors.


About the author: Stephen Sternbach
Stephen Sternbach has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Star Multi Care Services since 1987. After the sale of the New York and New Jersey operations of Star Multi Care Services, Sternbach brought the company private where he remains President and CEO of this newly developed $22M home healthcare company. With Sternbach at the helm, Star Multi Care Services employs more than 550 employees, in six offices throughout Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. From 1978 to 1986, Sternbach was associated with Automated Data Processing, Inc. (“ADP”)–a provider of information services, where he held several marketing positions before becoming the Director of Sales. 1999-2008 Sternbach was an active participant on the Board of Directors for Proginet–a computer software company based in Garden City, New York. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Long Island Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society from 1996-2002. In 1996, Stephen Sternbach was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young, Paine Webber and NASDAQ. Sternbach was also named in Crain’s New York Business Article, “40 Under 40” Successful Business Executives/Future Business Leaders in 1995. While maintaining a diversity of business and personal interests, Sternbach concentrated most of his efforts over the past 28 years towards continuously improving the quality of services delivered by the Star Multi Care Services’ family of companies. Stephen Sternbach holds a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University – Maxwell School of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Relations and Personnel Administration from Ithaca College.