Home & Hearth’s Top Tips for Managing Senior Medications
Are your senior loved ones taking medications right now? Are you sure they’re taking them the right way? Studies show that the average individual over age 65 is taking a plethora of prescriptions – as many as 15 – 18 of them each day. And, 55% of those prescription drugs are not being taken correctly for a number of reasons, with dangerous consequences. Knowing more about your own prescriptions and those your senior loved ones are taking can help avoid dangerous medication mistakes and allow for the maximum benefits of the medications.
The following are some tips to help manage senior medications more effectively.
Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor and/or pharmacist questions about the prescription. Be sure to know the following:
- The name of the drug
- What the drug is prescribed for
- If a generic version of the medication is an option
- How, when and how long to take the drug
- Correct dosage
- If the medication should be taken with food or on an empty stomach
- Possible side effects and drug interactions
It’s also important to keep a close eye on your senior loved ones for potential problems as they begin any new prescriptions, and to communicate back to the prescribing physician in the event that any unwanted effects are noted, rather than stopping the medication. The doctor can help you and your senior loved one weigh out the risks vs. the benefits of the medication, discuss any alternative options, and help you come up with the best treatment plan.
Refrain from modifying pills. Some pills are designed to release medication over the course of the day, so crushing or cutting them in half could destroy the time-release aspect of the medicine, causing the person to receive too much at one time or none at all. If swallowing pills is a problem, ask the doctor or pharmacist how or if a medication can be modified or if it is available in a smaller tablet or liquid form.
Seek additional support. Engaging the services of a professional in-home caregiver can mean the difference between medication mishaps and safe, healthy, thriving seniors. Caregivers can ensure that medications are taken exactly when and as prescribed, pick up medication refills, note any adverse effects and report them immediately to the medical team and the senior’s family. The services of an in-home caregiver are particularly invaluable when family lives at a distance from the senior, or are unable to be with the senior at all times.
Following a medication regimen can be difficult, particularly when the senior has multiple prescriptions to manage. Home & Hearth’s LaGrange caregivers are standing by to assist in keeping your senior loved one safe. Contact us at 708-352-4663 to learn more.