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Older Adults Without Medical Support Systems: How Pharmacists Can Help

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The term "elder orphan" is an emerging description of an individual older than 65 years of age who lacks dependents or close family members on whom to rely for assistance, particularly in dealing with health problems. As the number of elder orphans continues to grow, this population is increasingly at risk. Some social determinants of health affect the elder-orphan population disproportionately, including financial security, housing, and transportation. Medication nonadherence may be a sign of increasing isolation and unaddressed problems. Elder orphans may have difficulty managing their health care, and pharmacists can help by identifying patients without support systems may be able to act as valuable assets to these patients. Brown-bag medication reviews, medication therapy management, and thorough medication reconciliation are excellent interventions to prevent medication misadventure. Identifying other medical professionals and services that can support the elder orphan is also prudent.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • The Senior Care Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Senior Care Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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