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I don’t think it depends on age necessarily, but it does sometimes seem we are supporting life with meds when the quality if life is long gone. My dad is on some calming meds for his dementia. He’s 89, in memory care but it’s not really life.

I pay a drug service the facility uses to supply his meds. His insurance changed and now his eye drops for glaucoma cost over $200 per month. He can afford it so I pay it out of guilt mostly. I asked the staff if it’s really necessary at this point but they kinda calmed up. I suspect it would make no difference if he quit the eyedrops.

if my dad could step out of his dementia body for a minute and take a look at his life now there’s no doubt in my mind that he would want it to end immediately. So much of what we do in prolonging life is based on emotion and guilt, not rational thought.
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Lymie61 Aug 20, 2019
I see the calming meds as part of making him and the people around him comfortable (as long as they work of course) kind of like pain meds but I sure am with you on the eye drops unless they actually help him see rather than prevent possible future issues... I too know that if she get's to that point my mom would want her existence ended. She once told me that when it came time she was just going to walk out into the woods in the winder and go to sleep under a tree, die of hypothermia.
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For myself, I would like to leave instructions to stop giving me those meds if I end up with some form of dementia and have reached certain stage where I am becoming a burden. Why keep the body going if the mind is leaving.
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Just some random musings on the issue of meds:

How about the ads for all the over the counter stuff. One of my favs is Larry the cable guy selling a tummy med while knawing on some barbecue. Or the antacid ads where people are beating up on pizza and corn dogs. The theme being, go ahead, eat all this crap, we got ya covered.

Then there’s the big pharma ads. I can’t even keep,up with all the insulin meds but I have noticed the actors in the ads are starting to look like real people, a bit pear shaped and tubby. But in the ads they take whatever it is and are always doing all these very active things in beautiful settings. Many are talented musicians it seems.

After a particularly stressful trip about 3 years ago to deal with my parents many issues and crises, I noticed that my heart beat was kinda funny. Went through the local industrial medical cardio maze and it’s A Fib. So been on a small dose of whatever it is since. The symptoms have long since subsided but my doc tells me I should stay on the meds. Oh well, what the hell do I know.....

ill keep taking the stuff but I suspect it’s unnecessary. Maybe if I got of the beer and ice cream in the summer ? Nahhhh. That’s just crazy.
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disgustedtoo Aug 20, 2019
"The theme being, go ahead, eat all this crap, we got ya covered." THAT got a laugh out of me!!!

Yes, advertisements... WE will solve all your problems with the MAGIC pill!!! The radio/internet ads (thankfully there are dials and Skip Ads buttons!) rattle off so many side-effects/warnings, it comes out as gabble. Magazine ads, boast THIS, then follow it up with 2-3 pages of warning and side-effects!!! Yup, I WANT that.... Not.

"...always doing all these very active things in beautiful settings." I would do those things for a nice pay check, BUT I would have to BELIEVE in it first. If just getting paid to look active and cute, promoting some garbage I wouldn't even share a seat with? NOPE.
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There is not a number since everyone ages differently.

I think it has to do with how a person is doing. If the person is not doing well and has a horrible quality of life with no possibility of improvement, then I think that it's time to consider discontinuing all meds not necessary for comfort care.
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From what I have read (and experienced) from many pharmaceuticals, I decided to stop all of them. Mostly, I tapered them slowly. After I had been drug-free for a while my quality of life increased. I was able to go back to work. I can't believe I was ever on all those drugs. I can't believe I was talked into taking them. They were disabling to me.
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Lilacalani Aug 20, 2019
Amen to that!
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Are you asking for an elderly parent or one that is terminally ill?  My mother is 79 and has dementia and I made the decision to stop her mammograms.  Why? Because if she did have breast cancer, I would not put her through chemo, radiation and or surgery.  She is on cholesterol medication and I have not had a conversation with her doctor about stopping the statins yet, but plan to.  I think he will fight me on it but...
If she is in pain or uncomfortable, of course we act on it, but I no longer see the point of doing things that prolong her life.  She would not want to live like this if she were in her right mind and I respect her wishes.  To be clear, anything she needs to be comfortable we are doing. 
On the other hand I have a 98 yr old mother in law who is in great health, still lives alone, plays bridge, drives, etc.... she still has quality of life and I wouldn't dream of suggesting she stop any of her "maintenance drugs" or routine. 

To answer your questions, I think it depends on the person, their quality of life and their wishes.  No set rules here.
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AlvaDeer Aug 20, 2019
I have made the "mammogram" decision on my own at age 70. I am now 77. That knowing I have a history of aggressive breast cancer 31 years ago (found under my armpit by ME; negative mammograms). At that time I took 6 months adjuvent chemo with mastectomy; I refused radiation. At this point in my life, were I to have a recurrance of cancer, I would not treat it other than palliatively. Being a nurse I know there are many worse ways to go, and would ask for the "good drugs". I have zero fear of death; I do fear torture, and medical treatments can at some rare times amount to just that. I think these are all individual decisions we can make for ourselves while we are able, should discuss with families so that they can make them for us when we are no longer able. I so agree with you. There are no set rules here.
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My 'new' PCP saw the list of meds I was taking at age 60 for cholesterol---and blew a head gasket, Sent me in for a complete heart and chest scan. Clear as a bell. My cholesterol is in the 400's. Dh had 2 major heart attacks last summer with a non medicated cholesterol of 150. Totally occluded arteries. 4 stents placed and one replaced a week after the first procedure. Go figure.

ME? I want to be on nothing but my anxiety meds by age 75 and don't plan or expect to be on anything else, Gonna let life happen.

I currently am fighting Stage 3 Lymphoma--came out of the blue. I told my oncologist I was a 'one and done' patient. When this returns, 10, 15, 20 years, I will not treat it again.
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Harpcat Aug 20, 2019
Just a caution, but certain anxiety meds are implicated in contributing to dementia. Any of the ones that are anticholinergics like Xanax, Valium, klonipin, etc. that’s because choline is needed in the brain to consolidate memory and these drugs reduce choline. Check to see what you’re on and switch if you can.
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A medication review can be a good thing. Even a second opinion.

I was prescribed high blood pressure meds, but I do not have high blood pressure.
It was all part of the "Standard of care" given to e v e r y o n e these days, as standard protocol by the HMO doctors.

We need to be our own health advocates in addition to consulting our doctors.

My answer is meant to be "overall, in general", and does not include patients of any age who might have a diagnosed terminal illness.
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I agree with so many of the answers posted. It isn't an age... it is what a person's condition dictates. Most of us are told by our doctors that we will always have to take our medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, etc.
Yet, my experience, as a nurse, working with the elderly, has shown differently. When folks retire, there may be a great reduction in stress (natural lowering of the blood pressure). Some folks will start exercising or eating better which may lead to weight loss or generally improved health. It just depends.
In the 1980's, I believe, there was a study done in one of the Scandinavian countries showing that (in general) you can preserve the heart... or the brain. This is a generalization. But when blood pressure was controlled to help the heart last longer, there was an increase in dementia. Vice versa. When the blood pressure wasn't controlled so well, there was less dementia but more heart problems. This isn't an exact relationship...more a trend. If anyone is interested in exploring gerontology, you will find that the parameters used for us when we are younger, are less strict when we age. Blood pressure running a little higher, can improve perfusion of the brain. Not a bad thing.
Tightly controlled blood sugar is less likely to be safe - allowing the sugar to run a little higher actually mirrors what our bodies do naturally as we age. Why take a chance on your sugar going too low and causing much worse consequences.
These are not rules... these are items to be considered.

I think reviewing your current health (having a physical) and all of your medications is a great thing to do annually. Keeping records of what your numbers are at home (blood sugar or pressure), also helps your doctor, or other practitioner, see how to help you weed out what is not necessary.
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CaregiverL Aug 20, 2019
Nan, but wouldn’t hbp drugs prevent stroke? I’m confused. My mother got dementia but was taking hbp drugs & she still got mini strokes which caused dementia.
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I’ve told my husband when I get “old”, but it’s not a specific number, more of how good my quality of life is that I don’t want to be on any meds meant to help me keep living, or any flu or pneumonia vaccines. Comfort care drugs only. I’m 49 & only take allergy meds & Advil so we’ll see how that plan goes.
My FIL was 89, mind as sharp as a tack & he still canned foods, gardened & mowed his lawn. I would not have taken his maintenance drugs from him. My mom is 79, immobile, has dementia but is “okay” for the most part & in a nursing home. Her meds are a different story.
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