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Watch Out for these Medications if You Are Caring for a Senior!

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  3. Watch Out for Medications if You Are Caring for a Senior

They May be Responsible for Mood Swings and More

By Brenda Enright

Owner of Home Instead Senior Care Etobicoke

A Home Instead caregiver reviewing elder prescription scheduleDoes your dad look listless or not quite himself lately? Does he seem to have sudden bursts of anger that just do not line up with his typical easy-going personality? Has he visited the doctor recently and been prescribed a new medication? Watch out, he may be suffering from the adverse side effects! Many pills run the risk of a variety of negative effects. They could lead to physical problems such as those affecting the liver or heart, or emotional disturbance and depression.

If your Dad has sudden spells of sadness, despair, anxiety or discouragement without any apparent reason, his medicine might be to blame. Both excessive medication and the wrong mixture of drugs can be responsible for anger or mood swings. At Home Instead Etobicoke, we offer support to the elderly in many ways. Our senior care services include educating you about the side effects of prescription drugs and providing assistance when needed.

Common Medications that Create Mood Swings in Seniors

For every illness and ailment, there is a litany of prescriptions that can be taken. Understanding the drugs that cause depression or mania is one step in helping your dad, mom, or any senior family member who seems to be affected by them. Here are some drug groups to be aware of:

  • Corticosteroids: If Mom needs to be treated for inflammation or swelling, she may be prescribed medication in the corticosteroid family. You might be more familiar with this group of medicines by names like hydrocortisone or prednisone, among others.
  • Antidepressants: Some antidepressants can affect your loved one by taking emotions to another extreme. They can cause sudden anger or some kind of mania or fear.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is known to react with many medications, causing depression or other serious conditions. Make sure your dad or mom stays away from alcohol when they are on medications.
  • Barbiturates: Some patients are prescribed this group of depressants to slow down brain function. Phenobarbital and secobarbital are often administered for anxiety and seizures.
  • Beta-adrenergic Blockers (aka beta-blockers): If mom or dad suffers from heart problems like high blood pressure, angina, or abnormal heartbeat, the doctor may prescribe a drug from this group.
  • Statins: High cholesterol is often treated by a statin drug to help protect the patient’s heart. Check if this is included in your dad’s prescription list.

There are several illnesses that can create mood swings and depression too. For example, if your aunt is diabetic and goes without eating too long, she may become hypoglycemic, or suffer from low blood sugar. At first, she may appear a little grumpy and then suddenly crave a sugary drink or snack. If Dad ever suffered a stroke, his brain may have been affected, resulting in unexpected bursts of anger when you least expect it.

Professional Elder Care Assistance Helps Your Senior and Helps You Too!

It is common for medicines and illnesses to cause mood swings in your senior loved one. Before taking any drastic measures, encourage your aging parent to speak with their doctor. At Home Instead Senior Care Etobicoke, we provide compassionate caregivers who can offer elder care to assist your family member by managing medicines and tracking mood swings.

Call us at (416) 239-2200 to schedule a no-obligation in-home care consultation. Learn more about the compassionate, quality home care we deliver each day to families in the Etobicoke area.


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