According to University of Michigan researchers, there has been a significant increase in the number of senior citizens who are taking three or more medications that affect their brains. Back in 2004, about 0.6% of individuals over the age of 65 were taking three or more potentially brain-altering drugs, including antidepressants, opioids, antipsychotics, and tranquilizers. By 2013, however, that percentage had more than doubled, with 1.4% of individuals over the age of 65 taking three or more such drugs. These figures, which came from a review of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data correlate with over 3.68 million doctor visits per year in order to prescribe these drugs. Although these numbers show an increased willingness of senior citizens to accept medication for mental health conditions, there are also increased risks of taking these combinations of drugs.
The CDC statistics showed the largest increases among senior citizens taking this quantity and type of drugs occurred in rural areas; usage of three or more drugs that impacted the brain tripled among this group of senior citizens. The largest risks that result from the usage of drugs that affect the central nervous system for senior citizens are increased risks of falls and injuries caused by falls, decreased driving abilities, and difficulties with memory and thinking. The biggest concern for those individuals who take opioid painkillers, along with certain other drugs that affect the brain, including benzodiazepine tranquilizers, is an increased risk of death in general.
At Boller & Vaughan, we know firsthand just how prevalent neglect in community based residential facilities and nursing homes can be, particularly with respect to the most vulnerable patients. If your family member has suffered abuse, neglect, or recurrent overmedication, we are here to protect your rights and represent your interests, no matter what the case may involve. Our law firm has the experience that you need in a case such as this, so that you can explore all of the options that are available to you, and decide what legal avenue to pursue. Call the Wisconsin community-based residential facility neglect attorneys today at (608) 268-0268 and schedule a free appointment.