The older we get, the more medications we take. Your loved one may already be taking multiple medications, such as those for chronic conditions like diabetes, medication to slow Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms, vitamins and over-the-counter medications. Keeping track of these drugs can be complicated, especially if they need to be taken at certain times of the day to avoid drug interactions.
Helping your loved one manage their medications if very important. This simple but profound step will reduce the risk of drug interactions, negative symptoms and misuse.
Make a List
Keep an updated list of all prescription medications. Include the dosage and the time of day that they are taken so that caregivers can be informed. And, when you have a doctor’s appointment, you can take the list with you. It’s a good idea to have the list saved on your computer or mobile app so that you can easily make changes with new medications being added, taken away or having the dosage changed.
Build a Prescription Medication File
All of the pamphlets that come with your loved one’s medication should be filed away in an expandable folder. This way, if you need to refer back to the drug information, the material will be there. Just because your loved one doesn’t experience an interaction at the start of the medication doesn’t mean that this can’t change.
Use the Same Pharmacy
When you use the same pharmacy, they will keep all of the medications stored in a computer and can alert you of dangerous drug interactions. Also, using the same pharmacy is easier for you because everything will be at one location. With cloud-based systems and online ordering, it’s easier than ever to use one pharmacy.
Buy a Pill Organizer
Perhaps the easiest way to manage medications is to buy a pill organizer. There are many available, and some come color coded with slots for the morning, afternoon and evening. If your loved one is capable of taking their own medications, you can fill the pill box a week or two in advance, set a reminder and have your loved one take their medication. Otherwise, a caregiver will find a pill box very helpful.
Get into a Routine
It’s also helpful to get into a routine so that your loved one takes their medications as followed. For instance, waking up in the morning, taking the medication on an empty stomach and then having breakfast is a good routine that will set the stage for a positive day.