Medications are necessary when treating certain illnesses, but they also require careful maintenance and dosing. According the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 34 percent of seniors are prescribed medications by more than one doctor, and 72 percent reach for medications that were prescribed over six months ago. It’s not just elders who make mistakes, but caregivers as well. With so many medications, there is a moderate risk of overdosing or overmedicating a patient. Harmful drug interactions can also occur.
Here are some tips for safely managing senior medications.
Use an Organizer
A medication organizer is a must-have for anyone administering medication. It includes slots for each day, and some have slots for both morning and night. Medication organizers prevent overdosing and can help caregivers determine what has been given/taken for the day.
Make a List of Medications
Having pills well organized is not enough. You must also have a complete list of medications, including vitamins. This list should be brought with to doctor’s appointments, and copies should be given to all caregivers. This will prevent harmful drug interactions, and keep caregivers on the same page.
Use One Pharmacy
Getting fast and easy refills and preventing drug interactions is made realistic when using one pharmacy. You’ll find yourself feeling more organized, too. Many pharmacies now offer automatic refills with email or phone reminders.
Develop a Consistent Schedule
Consistency is important for elders, and having a familiar schedule each day will help your loved one get into a routine, and you too. Since many medications need to be taken with food, get yourself in the habit of administering medication around meal times. This will also help you identify any potential drug reactions.
There are some conditions that require medication, possibly for the rest of your loved one’s life. That’s why you should try to eliminate medication when it’s not needed. For instance, instead of reaching for Tylenol for a headache or arthritic pain, learn about natural therapies that can help, such as cold compresses or essential oils. The less medication, the better.
Managing senior medications is a big role, but it can be done safely and effectively when using a pill organizer, staying on top of all medications and having a good rapport with one local pharmacy.