10 Vital Tips For Senior Medication Management
Medication management is critical for senior health. Most seniors take many medications throughout the day, and it’s simple to mix them up.
Seniors can avoid frequent medication errors including taking the wrong drug, missing doses, or taking more than prescribed by putting in place a simple routine and taking care of the basics.
Medication Management Tips For Seniors
We’ll go over 10 key suggestions for helping your elderly loved one securely manage their medications, as well as some useful resources. Seniors should follow these 10 suggestions for managing their medications at home.
1. Gather all prescriptions, vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and supplements in one place.
It’s easy to lose track of the prescription medication, vitamins, over-the-counter medication, or supplements you’re taking if they’re all kept in separate places.
Some seniors, for example, may keep certain pills in the kitchen, others on their nightstand, and still others in the bathroom medicine cabinet.
Over-the-counter drugs should be included because they can still induce harmful drug interactions when taken alongside prescription medications.
Keeping everything in one place is an excellent habit to develop.
You’ll be able to monitor exactly what’s being consumed, ensure that comparable prescriptions aren’t being written for the same health problem, and know when to discard expired meds.
Keep all of their current pill bottles and packaging in a clear plastic storage bin to stay organized and increase drug safety (like this). This guarantees that everything stays in place.
Keep their backup medication supplies or drugs that are only needed once in a while in a different bin.
2. Ensure that medications are appropriately stored.
In general, medications should be stored in a cool, dry environment.
That means the medicine cabinet in the bathroom isn’t a smart place to put them because moisture and heat can harm them.
Medicines should also be kept out of reach of kids and pets.
Important: Follow the doctor’s or pharmacist’s directions for medication that requires special storage, such as refrigeration.
3. Create and keep a current medicine list.
It’s critical to know what drugs your elderly relative is taking in order to avoid dangerous drug interactions.
That’s why it’s critical to keep track of all of their prescriptions, vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter meds.
Keep the following information in mind:
- Names of all prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and supplement medications
- How frequently each item is used
- What is the dose of each item?
- Each prescription drug was written by a different healthcare professional.
- The item’s purpose and/or the symptoms it’s designed to address
- Whether each item will be used for a short or extended period of time
4. Sort your pills for the week ahead of time.
For seniors, staying organized is critical to effective medication management. You can assist your older adult in pre-sorting their prescriptions for the week by using a pill organizer.
The ideal pill organizer for your senior citizen is one with enough sections to hold all of their medications throughout the day.
This one, for example, contains 28 compartments in total, with four doses per day for seven days.
If any pills need to be split, do so ahead of time and store the halves in the pill organizer compartments.
Your senior will no longer have to fumble with a pill cutter or remember to split pills before taking them.
5. Check for negative drug interactions twice.
Many elderly people take a variety of drugs, vitamins, over-the-counter treatments, and supplements.
That’s why it’s crucial to double-check that none of them are going to trigger any unfavorable drug interactions.
Use an online drug interaction checker to ensure the doctor or pharmacist didn’t overlook any potential interactions.
If any interactions are discovered, contact your doctor or pharmacist right away for guidance (don’t make any adjustments yourself).
6. Make sure the medication directions are easy to understand.
It’s critical to follow the doctor’s directions when taking drugs.
This reduces the chances of harmful drug interactions, adverse effects, or the drug’s effectiveness being harmed.
Make sure you and your senior understand which drugs can be taken at the same time and which should be taken at different times to avoid negative side effects.
Some medications, for example, must be taken on an empty stomach while others must be taken on a full stomach.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask the doctor for clarification and comprehensive instructions.
It is their responsibility to ensure that the prescriptions will improve health, which can only happen if they are used correctly.
7. Set up a method for tracking and reminding you to take your medications.
With so many prescriptions, it can be difficult for elders and caregivers to keep track of when each dose should be taken.
A medication reminder system and tracking log can ensure that your elderly loved one takes the right medications at the right times.
Taking notes with a pen and paper is a simple approach to keep track of when prescriptions were taken.
You may make a basic chart containing the medication’s name and dosage, as well as the date and time. Make a check mark or an X next to each dose your older adult takes.
Filling out this chart ensures that no medicines are missed for both them and you. Nobody will have to wonder if that morning dose was already taken.
There are a variety of ways to create reminders to assist you remember when it’s time to take your prescription.
Some seniors may want to use their cell phone to set a succession of alarms. A medication management software (like this one) might be useful for tech-savvy elders.
If your senior isn’t tech-savvy and simply takes a few doses each day, a simple alarm clock can suffice.
Some people make it a practice to take particular medications at specific times of the day. They can remember when to take which drugs if they stick to a regimen.
8. Be aware of potential pharmaceutical side effects.
It’s critical to be aware of each medication’s potential negative effects and drug interactions.
This allows you to keep an eye out for any health changes that may occur after your older adult begins taking a new medicine, raises the amount, or changes the way he or she takes pills.
If you detect any changes or difficulties, make an appointment with their doctor straight soon.
Common side effects include an increased risk of falling, stomach trouble, pain or weakness, and more.
Some of the negative symptoms could potentially be mistaken for other medical disorders, such as dementia.
9. Assist seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease with their medicine.
If your elderly relative appears to be confused about their medication or has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they will most likely want assistance with their prescription.
A reminder system may be adequate to help them due to their cognitive impairment.
Furthermore, inappropriate medicine administration could result in catastrophic health consequences.
10. Schedule prescription refills ahead of time.
It’s critical to acquire refills on time for long-term prescription drugs so that your senior doesn’t run out and miss doses.
Ask your doctor to prescribe a 90-day supply through a mail-order pharmacy, which is the most convenient option.
The drug will be mailed to you, and you’ll only have to remember to order it every few months.
Many pharmacies also provide automated refills and will contact you when your prescription is available for pickup.
The ten important guidelines above, as well as some helpful resources, will undoubtedly assist you in assisting seniors in safe medication management.