Signs That Your Elderly Loved One is Abusing Their Prescriptions

If your elderly loved one is taking prescription medications, it is important to ensure that they are taking them properly. It might come as a surprise to most, but many senior citizens do abuse their prescriptions. There are some signs that you and your loved one’s elder care providers can watch out for that signify they are abusing their medications.

Mood Changes

If you have started noticing sudden changes in your elderly loved one’s mood, this could signify many things. However, if they are taking prescription medications, it could be a sign that they are abusing them.

Sleep Pattern Changes

Many prescription medications can cause sleep issues. However, if your elderly loved one has been taking the same medications for a while and they haven’t experienced sleeping issues until now, they might be abusing the prescriptions.

Appearance Changes

If you start noticing that your elderly loved one isn’t taking care of their own personal care such as grooming and/or overall appearance, this could be a sign they are abusing their prescriptions. Many people with substance abuse disorders are high and don’t pay attention to their responsibilities or self-care.

Reported Medication Issues

Has your elderly loved one told you that someone stole their medication? Maybe they have said that they lost it. This is not usually the case. In fact, many senior citizens who state this is happening, especially when they say it month after month, are usually abusing their prescriptions.

Not “Improving”

Your elderly loved one’s doctor prescribed them medication for a certain condition. If your elderly loved one is stating that the medication isn’t improved and they want a higher dose to help, they could be abusing their prescription medication. This is usually the case if their doctor recommends a change to a different medication and your elderly loved one refuses.

Becoming Irritable

If your elderly loved one has started yelling at you, their elder care provider, or other family members, this could be a sign they are abusing their prescriptions. This is especially true if they don’t normally act like this. They may become even more irritable if you ask to manage their medications or to see their prescription bottle.

These are some of the many signs that your elderly loved one could be abusing their prescriptions. If you suspect that your loved one is doing this and they won’t talk to you about it, it might be beneficial to talk to someone about it. If others are noticing these signs and your loved one still won’t talk to them, you might want to mention it to their prescribing doctor.


If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Falmouth, ME, please contact the caring staff at CareTree Healthcare today. Call today! 207-899-0774.