Health and Wellness

Caregiver Help Radio

Elaine K. Sanchez

Caregiver Help Radio – Prescriptions Drugs – The Solution, or the Problem?

When you watch ads on television about prescription medication and listen to the possible side effects, have you ever wondered if that medication would cause a person more harm than good? Do you know where to go to find out what drugs are known to have adverse effects on people? And if you have a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, have you ever wondered if (s)he is being over-medicated? If your care receiver is acting like a zombie, should you be asking, “Is it the disease, or is it the medication?” How do nursing homes and memory care communities find a way to control challenging and sometimes violent behaviors without over-medicating their residents?

Join us as we visit with Maria Reyes with Ecumen. Maria is the program manager of “Awakenings”, a program funded by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services that allowed Ecumen memory care facilities in five states to provide a comprehensive, holistic approach to improving residents’ quality of life – by literally “awakening” those who were sedated, lethargic, and/or experiencing a decrease in physical and cognitive functioning due to the use of antipsychotics, hypnotics, anti-anxiety, and other forms of potentially inappropriate medications.

We also visit with Michelle Llamas with, a nonprofit organization that publishes information about prescription medications and medical devices that are known to be harmful to the people who use them. We talk about the questions you should ask your doctor, how to determine if your health has been adversely impacted by something you shouldn’t have taken in the first place, and some of things we all need to know about common health problems experienced by many older adults. If you have specific questions, you can call Drug Watch 800-452-0949 and speak to a representative.

Finally, be sure to visit, our video-based caregiver support program to get some help coping with the anger, guilt depression and grief often associated with caregiving. We also provide information on understanding and managing dementia-related challenges behaviors, along with a framework for developing your own personal self-care plan. You can sample the entire guilt module, and if you like what you see, you can sign up for a free one-week trial membership. And, as always, if you have a question you’d like to ask, a story you’d like to share, or a rant you’d like to get off your chest, connect with me on Facebook or send me email. I’ll do my best to respond.