Think of Dear Ellie as your very own kitchen table, where you can discuss the things that are on your mind. Now that the boomers are turning 60 and those in the Greatest Generation are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s—we are all blazing new trails in the third third of life. So, have a cup of coffee and let’s talk about life: the past, the present, and the future. [Editor's note: Dr. Greenberg no longer contributes to Silver Planet, but we have made her archived blog entries available as a service to our readers.]
My doctor has just prescribed another medication. I am essentially well at age 64 and am concerned that I am taking too many pills. I now have seven different things that I take every day. Is that too many? Fred
My nurse-practitioner friend tells me that the average number of pills taken by men and women over 60 is seven. That includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter-drugs, and nutrition supplements like vitamins. So you are right on target.
Many older people are taking vitamins, calcium, a cholesterol-lowering drug, a high blood pressure drug, and a thyroid supplement. That’s five right there. If you add to those daily pills another one or two for a cold or a particular pain, you are up to the average of seven.
However, anytime you add another pill, be sure to tell your doctor about all the other things you are taking. Some things don’t mix well with others, and even a change of brand might make a difference. If you begin to experience dizziness, stomach upset, or any other unusual symptom, be sure to call your doctor immediately.
I am not a physician, but I’m passing along this information because it came to me from a qualified medical professional. I was surprised by the average number of pills that older people take. Maybe you will be, too.
Take care, and stay well! Ellie
By Elinor Miller Greenberg, EdD