November is a time for thanks and especially time to thank caregivers!

November is National Caregivers Month.

Listening to the homily at church this past Sunday, Fr. Cotter mentioned the fact that there are 613 commandments in the Old Testament. The New Testament has ten commandments. He was commenting on one of the 613 commandments that states not to put an obstacle in the path of a blind person. He hoped that none of us would do that in the first place. But then he spoke further and what it may mean today. It is to not make another person’s life more difficult as we all have obstacles so why would we put obstacles in front of one another?

I immediately thought about long medication lists, the medications that older adults and caregivers often need to contend with, make sense of, and manage. But are some of these medications just obstacles at some point? Are they all necessary and helping the individual as intended? Have some medications become obstacles that may make someone not feel well, cause dizziness, confusion, or falls?

Now that many of us will be together for the holidays, it may be a good time to think and talk about number of medications and cost of medications. Is a loved one ‘blindly’ taking medications and does not know why? Does the person, you care for, just not feel quite right? Some conditions resolve but are still treated years later. Sometimes medications are continued without anyone knowing the purpose any longer. Folks change doctors throughout the years and specialists come and go throughout life. Have the medications remained, even though the doctors have not?

Use the templates and resources sections for questions to ask a prescriber about a loved one’s medications. Ask about deprescribing to optimize medications. Let’s start removing ‘obstacles’ together! Keep checking in each week for more information on deprescribing and approaching the topic of deprescribing with loved ones and the health care team. Most of all stay WISE & WELL!