They call it “running” errands for a reason – we are inclined to feel like getting through them as fast as possible! But in terms of picking up prescription medications, slowing down and taking more time to talk with the pharmacist, instead of buzzing through the drive-through, is important – especially for elders who commonly take a variety of meds.
Medication management for seniors is an important safety precaution. Our compassionate and experienced home care team shares the following list of questions to ask the pharmacist to make sure that both you and the senior you are caring for are equipped with the necessary information:
- What, when and exactly how: First off, obtain clarification on the fundamentals, although the most critical facts are typically included on the label or associated paperwork. What is the proper dose? Is there a specific time of day the medication needs to be taken? Is it taken with meals, water, milk, on an empty stomach, etc.?
- When errors arise: If too much or not enough of the med is taken, or if a dose is skipped, what steps ought to be taken? What about if an older adult does not remember having taken the medication and takes a duplicate dosage?
- Side effects: Once again, these details ought to be printed out for you, but the pharmacist can supply you with an excellent review of the most common side effects to watch for, and what you need to do if any harmful effects or an allergic reaction occurs.
- What to avoid: Some medications interact adversely with others, or even with different types of food. Others might cause sleepiness or dizziness, which makes it hazardous to drive or operate machinery and increases the danger of a fall.
- Duration: Will this medication need to be taken ongoing, or is it short-term? If long-term, exactly how many refills are part of the prescription? And is there a shelf life/expiration date? What happens if the medication is taken past this date?
Lastly, make sure to ask about an evaluation of all of medications the senior is taking to check for any contraindications between medications. This is specifically necessary for seniors acquiring prescriptions from a number of medical professionals and specialists. Ask the pharmacist if there’s any duplication in the senior’s list of meds to avoid overmedication. It may possibly be that one physician has prescribed a generic version of a medication, while another wrote the order for the drug’s brand name.
Absolute Companion Care can help make sure that older adults remain both updated with regards to the medications they’re taking, and compliant in taking them exactly as prescribed. We are available to pick up prescriptions, supply transportation and accompaniment to the pharmacy to allow non-driving seniors to talk with the pharmacist, remind seniors at the recommended time to take meds, and much more.
Give us a call at 410-357-9640 or reach out via our online contact form to learn more about our Sparks home care and the areas we serve. Increase health and wellbeing for a loved one in your life! For a full list of each of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.