Opioids and the Elderly: What Do You Need to Know?

Opioids and the Elderly: What Do You Need to Know?

 November 27, 2019

A woman sitting at the table with some pills

There are many elderly people who take opioids. They may have been prescribed opioids after surgery or for chronic pain issues. The problem is that opioids can cause many problems for the elderly. If you are taking care of an elderly loved one, there are some things you should know about the dangers of opioids.


Falling Risk

Since opioids will cause depression of the central nervous system, anyone who is taking them will have an increased risk of falling. When it comes to the elderly, who are already weaker, their risk of falling increases even more. Senior citizens need to take even more precautions when they are moving around after taking an opioid. You might want to hire an elder care provider to help your loved one get around if they are taking opioids.


Increased Confusion

Opioids, for many people, can lead to confusion. Many senior citizens already get confused from time to time. Adding medication to the mix that adds to the confusion can make things much worse. The medications can make them feel groggy and drowsy, which also clouds their judgment. It is important to make sure the senior citizen that is taking opioids doesn’t make any major decisions when they are taking the medications.


Constipation Issues

Opioids have a negative impact on one’s digestive tract. Many people, especially the elderly, that take opioids will experience issues with their bowel movements. For most of these people, they will have constipation. This can be quite painful. If your loved one is experiencing constipation, be sure they are getting enough fiber and drinking enough water to help move their bowel movements along. You might need to hire an elder care provider to have them make sure your loved one is doing these things.


Abuse or Addiction

It is possible for senior citizens to become addicted to opioids. There are many elderly adults who are addicted to these medications. They may abuse them, as well. It is important to make sure your elderly loved one is always taking their opioids as prescribed. They should never take more than what they have been prescribed. If they don’t use all of their medications when they are supposed to, they should safely dispose of them. You or an elder care provider can help them to do this if needed.

It is important to know all of this information about opioids and the elderly. There are many dangers of taking opioids, as you have read about here today. If you are caring for an elderly loved one, these are some of the things you need to pay attention to if they are taking opioids. If they begin to have issues with abuse or addiction, talk to their doctor immediately.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elder Care in Fox Chapel, PA, please contact the caring staff at In-Home Quality Care today. Serving the Greater Pittsburgh Area since 1990! Call 412-421-5202