Senior Matters: Understanding your prescription options


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – Family members who care for the elderly sometimes think they are the only ones facing unique challenges, Especially when it comes to getting the right medications.

Actually, many of those problems come from not getting the correct information.

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According to a survey by the Kaiser Foundation, more than half of U.S. adults 65 and older take at least 4 prescription drugs daily.

Not all of them can afford the cost.

That can cause serious consequences.

But there are programs that can help older patients get what they need and make sure they are taking them.

“The biggest thing we tell patients is if you can’t get your medication due to not understanding ..why it’s not covered or it’s unaffordable…reach out to your provider. They can’t do anything if they don’t know that you have been unable to access the medication,” says Marissa Wilson, R.N. at CHI Memorial Hospital.

The main issue for some seniors is that they are unable to afford their medications. .

“And then if it comes down to you just can’t afford the medication, we make them aware of resources. The Medicare D extra help credit…that a lot of people are not aware of. It’s a program through social security and there are a lot of patients in this community that are eligible but people don’t know to apply for it,” says Wilson.

But the rules and coverage for the medications change frequently.

“My goal is to talk to the patient, have the patient tell me what medicines they’re taking, what dose they are taking, how often they take it, why they take it and if they are having any side-effects from them,” says Sydney Hopper, Pharmacist at CHI Memorial.

Pharmacist Hopper goes out to groups in the community to answer questions about medications and how to get them under various programs. .

“Honestly, through an interview you’re able to find out a whole lot more information about a person’s difficulties they’re having with their medicines. Not just them coming to you and telling you this is my problem. It’s almost like..we call it motivational interviews…and we’re trying to draw out from them the problems and the issues they are having,”says Hopper.

Sydney Hopper says she frequently hears that patients don’t ask their providers enough questions because of the short visits with them.

This program at CHI Memorial helps fill those blanks.

If your senior family member is having problems with medications…the best advice is ask for help.

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Joeli Poole joined the WDEF News 12 Team in April 2019 as a Reporter and Producer. You can find her reporting during the week and when not on camera; she's producing the 6 and 11 shows. Joeli grew up with a love for reporting, starting in middle school. She has been the anchor for her middle and high school TV stations, along with the Sports Anchor for her College TV Station. Joeli grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and moved to Tennessee when she 10 years old. She went to Cleveland Middle school and Walker Valley High School. She graduated in May of 2019 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a bachelor's degree in Communications. Being from the area, Joeli loves being able to help tell the stories of her community. In her spare time, Joeli enjoys watching her LSU Tigers, hiking, and playing with her dog. Feel free to email any story ideas at