After 35 years as a pharmacist, Rob Albers was familiar with many of the medication risks that older adults face, from overdosing to improper medication use. But he wasn't prepared to see a medication mistake result in an accident that left his own father, John, paralyzed from the waist down.
When the accident happened in 2007, John Albers was managing his own medications, noted his son. "He did it all himself. He would arrange and highlight the bottles." What he didn't count on, though, was that the manufacturer had changed the color of one of the medications.
Challenged by macular degeneration, a condition that affects eyesight, John Albers thought he was taking a blood pressure medication and a blood thinner. But, for three weeks, he was on a double dose of blood thinners. "Dad called me at 10:30 one night and said he had severe lower back pain," Rob Albers said. "By the next morning he was paralyzed from the waist down as a result of bleeding in his spine," noted Albers, who was a long distance caregiver at the time of the accident.
The condition cannot be reversed, and John Albers, 89, and his wife now live in a care facility as a result. Rob Albers said he thinks his father's accident could have been avoided if he'd had a pill planner or a caregiver to help him manage his medications.
Look for resources like these senior health tracking tools to help your loved one manage his or her medications to avoid tragic medication-related accidents.
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