The elderly community is becoming more and more vulnerable or rather the issue is becoming more and more publicly acknowledged. Once we reach a certain age we are in most cases at the mercy of more medications than we have ever been given in our lives. Some are for our heart and blood pressure while others are for pain and sleeping conditions. One family of medications is very different from the other. We do not usually associate addiction with medications for heart or blood pressure or the ones for urinary conditions. But step into the world of pain killers and sleep aids and medications like that become very additive.Many of our elderly friend and family mmbers are in a rapid decline due to overmedicating be it to themselves or by others who they trust to take care of them or in to many sad situations our elderly are left at the mercy of someone or anyone to help them.
I know when my grandmother hurt her back and the doctor gave her hydrocodone for the pain she developed a love of the medication. She was seventy four at the time and I was the only one who noticed the addiction. It was three years after the injury and she was still taking them religiously. She was taking them as if she had been prescribed the medication for the long term. She had never even considered weaning herself off. I have to question the doctor in this situation. Did he not see the problem. He was the one who kept giving them to her. Her charts clearly indicated the time frame in which she had been taking them. Or do the Doctors actually realize what is going on and continue to give thier elderly patients more of the mediction that they become addicted as a form of control over many other conditions by simply masking them through sedative type meds.
Many of our elderly are at the mercy of nurse or a caregiver to give them the medications they need. In to many cases people will give an elderly person medications they do not necessarily need just to make caring for them easier. Many elderly people are given sleeping pills during the day just so the caregiver is not burdened with having to stimulate or entertain them. You do not want to believe this and neither do Ibut the fact remains. This is criminal and in so many lives it overlooked everyday. Alcohol is encouraged in many elderly people because of the personality changes it causes. Caregivers can not deal with them the way they are naturally and will encourage many types of addiction.
The most frightening aspect of this behavior is the untimely death of so many of our elders. The deaths are ruled in massive quantity as natural and are not followed up with an autopsy to prove otherwise. The criminal behavior goes unpunished right under our noses and moves onto the next unprotected elder to suffer at the hands of forced addiction. I am left to wonder if any action will ever be taken to alter this behavior or if society will just keep looking the other way. Our elderly people are as vulnerable as a new born baby. Will they ever be given the same respect? Will elderly abuse ever be as important as child abuse?