'Home for the Holidays' unveiled

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Free copy of campaign brochure available

By Monica Ruehling

During the start of the holiday season may seem like an odd time to release a medicine management campaign, but the hope is that it will be the perfect time.

The “Home for the Holidays” medicine management campaign is being unveiled during this holiday season in conjunction with the Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, and Consumers Union, a non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports. The campaign’s goal is to assist older adults and their caregivers in making smart, economical health-care decisions.

During the holiday season, families are more likely to gather together, giving them a time to discuss important issues such as health care. It also gives them a chance to evaluate the current health situation of their loved ones.

In the United States, three-fourths of people over age 45 take prescription drugs, with an average of four medications each day. It is projected that by the year 2010, the annual per person spending on drugs for older adults will reach $2,810, an increase of 133 percent over spending in 2000.

According to the American Pharmacists Association, the number of different medications a person takes tends to increase with age. People age 75 and older take an average of 7.9 drugs per person per day.

“The use of multiple medications may increase the likelihood of medication misuse,” said Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “The intention of our holiday campaign is to provide the aging population and caregivers with tools to remove the stress from the medication management process.”

The “Home for the Holidays” campaign provides useful tools and information about prescription drug management through a new brochure about managing medication. The brochure provides tips, including how to create a medication record and cost saving steps to include generic drugs and competitive pharmacy pricing.

The brochure also lists information for help paying for medicines. Even with the best medicine plan, it may still be tough for many people to afford the medicines. Websites and information for Medicare Extra Help Program, the State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program and the Pharmaceutical Assistance Program are outlined.

“Understanding the options available can help older adults and their family members better manage health conditions, reduce the chance of harmful drug interactions and get the best value for their medications,” said Sandy Markwood, CEO for the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).

To order a free copy of the campaign brochure, contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or www.eldercare.gov. To learn more about how older adults can take an active role in their healthcare, visit “Prescription Drug Options for Older Adults” at www.n4a.org/programs/best-buy-drugs or www.CRBestBuyDrugs.org, sponsored by Consumers Union and Consumer Reports.