It’s worth mentioning that many older adults are healthy indeed.
This week has been a great reminder of the people I meet in the community at health fairs and what I bring back to the classroom.
In the Community
I hear, many times over, from participants of health fairs and community programs, “I don’t take any meds.” Or, “I am very fortunate, I only take one medication.” This is noteworthy, in that indeed they are fortunate. We cannot rule-out they take an active role in their health by taking the time to attend a health fair or a community program. Not only are these folks active, they are also engaging in the community, socializing, and avoiding isolation.
After agreeing and recognizing the individual’s good health, I often say, “I bet you know people that take more medications.” Then I hear a resounding, “Oh! Yes!” That’s when I encourage the individual to still think about the importance of deprescribing and have a conversation with that person they are thinking about.
Another twist that I often ask is, “Do you take any vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter products?” Typically, the response is yes. Know that everything counts. Good, bad, or indifferent, these products can all have an effect. Prescription or non-prescription it’s still medicine that needs to be evaluated for benefit versus risk.
In the Classroom
In the aging-elective classroom for pharmacy students, I introduce similar healthy individuals through an online-trailer-video of older adults competing in swimming, pole-vaulting, tennis, basketball, and track. The students smile and are inspired. I ask them to think of older adults as healthy. I encourage the students to maintain that healthy standard of older adults. Review their medications regularly. Identify medications that may be unnecessary. Be proactive about deprescribing medications. Avoid polypharmacy and overmedication consequences.
Medications are an important part of health goals and prevent worsening conditions. Medications help us live longer. Keeping a check on appropriateness of medications in the continuum of health care and making deprescribing as mainstream as prescribing can keep our older adults in the sweet spot of optimizing medications.
Deprescribe to Optimize
Deprescribe-to-Optimize is a worthwhile topic of discussion in the community, in the health care classroom, and in all health care visits including the pharmacy, vision care, dental care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dietician, specialist, and primary care.
Sign-up to receive new blogs about deprescribing. Check out the resources and the templates to help with deprescribing conversations. Order MedStrong: Shed Your Meds for a Better, Healthier You-Aging Well through Deprescribing to learn more about polypharmacy, the process of deprescribing, the barriers that challenge deprescribing, and making the effort to move forward to optimize your medications. Above all stay WISE & WELL!