Common Medications That May Cause Memory Loss, Especially in the Elderly

September 22nd, 2015 by John Wilson

Talk to senior care services about managing medications.

Senior care services can help with medication management.

As we age, it’s common to need various medications to better manage health issues. However, these medications can have negative side effects that should be evaluated before they are taken. This makes elderly medication management in assisted living centers a complex process. Senior care in assisted living needs to be aware of common medications that could be the source of a resident’s memory loss.

Anti-Anxiety Medication

Benzodiazepines are commonly used to treat symptoms of anxiety. These medications work to suppress certain areas of the brain to eliminate the feelings of anxiety. Unfortunately, this can mean suppressing areas of the brain associated with memory, particularly the ability to transfer short-term memories into long-term memories. For this reason, many doctors recommend taking these types of medication only for short periods of time.

Cholesterol Medication

High cholesterol is a growing problem among the aging population. This has led to an increase in the prescription of statins. In fact, many individuals who need senior care services in OKC are taking these medications. In addition to lowering the cholesterol in the blood, statins can decrease blood flow to the brain, which is a major contributor to memory loss. To prevent these effects, individuals who take statins for high cholesterol, not a coronary disease, should consider a vitamin regimen instead.

Talk to someone about elderly medication management in assisted living centers.

Ask about elderly medication management in assisted living centers.

Hypertension Medication

Another common heart related ailment among the elderly is hypertension, or high blood pressure. These patients are often prescribed beta-blockers to help reduce their blood pressure. Unfortunately, this can also contribute to memory loss. This is because beta-blockers can also block necessary chemicals in the brain. For this reason, the elderly should speak to their doctor about safer alternatives to help protect their memory.

Anti-Depressant Medication

Many elderly individuals who are under senior care in assisted living find they feel depressed for a number of reasons. This can lead to being prescribed anti-depressant drugs to fight these feelings. While seniors may feel better about life when taking these medications, they could also find their memory declines as a result. Anti-depressants block norepinephrine and serotonin, both critical receptor chemicals in the brain. Therapy and lifestyle changes may provide relief without the need for these medications.

Sleeping Pills

As we age, it can become more difficult to sleep. This leads to an increase in the need for sleep aids to help individuals fall asleep and stay asleep. The way these medications interact with the brain is similar to the way anti-anxiety drugs work, which can also contribute to increased memory loss. This is why many doctors recommend melatonin as a natural sleep aid instead.

Elderly medication management in assisted living centers requires staff members to pay close attention to potential side effects. Identifying negative side effects quickly can help in making necessary adjustments to a senior’s medical care. However, sometimes medication isn’t the answer, particularly when it causes a different kind of problem that could be avoided by using alternative treatments.

If you’re looking for quality senior care services in OKC, contact us. The Village at Oakwood can help with all aspects of senior care, including medication management.

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