“Take 2 hours after eating. Avoid exposure to sunlight while taking this medication.”
“Take on an empty stomach. Do not take with aspirin.”
“Take twice a day with meals and a full glass of water. Can result in excessive drowsiness.”
Think about how it would feel to try to successfully juggle many different medications, from a number of physicians, taken at numerous times during the day, with varied and perhaps even contradictory instructions. Welcome to the daily medication management routine of many seniors, 36% of whom take up to 5 or more prescription medications at the same time.
Medication mismanagement for seniors is understandably widespread, and can bring about frightening results, making it essential to create a plan to ensure aging parents stay safe and compliant with doctors’ prescribed medicine regimens. These pointers, thanks to the Butler senior care team at Absolute Companion Care, are a good starting point:
- Store medicines in a single safe, centralized location. Gather up all meds the individual takes on a normal schedule, both OTC and prescription, and place together in a durable bin. Generally speaking, the bathroom medicine cabinet is not an ideal storage location, mainly because humidity and warmth can impact some medications. If a certain medicine should be refrigerated, keep an empty bottle as a placeholder in the bin to serve as a reminder. Store the bin in a cool, dry location, beyond the reach of little children and pets.
- Assemble an inventory of all medications being taken. Be sure to include in your record every medication’s name, how often and what dosages are prescribed, the name of the prescribing doctor, and also the reason for using the med. When completed, share the list with the senior’s primary care physician or pharmacist for an evaluation to make sure there are not any unwanted contraindications. Set a note in your phone or calendar to check and revise the list on a consistent basis.
- Use a pill organizer. Pill organizers are very helpful in making sure meds are taken accurately. At the beginning of each week, sort and put proper doses of each medication in the correct day/time box. Following that, go back and double check to confirm things are in order.
- Review instructions. It is important to understand precisely how each medication must be taken (such as with or without food, if it is okay for the pill to be broken or crushed, etc.), and what potential side effects could be anticipated. If any instructions are unclear, check with the prescribing doctor right away for clarification. Compile this information into one succinct report and review/update on a frequent basis.
- Hire a skilled caregiver to help. Managing multiple meds effectively may be stressful, and the addition of a trained professional caregiver to provide medication reminders can be extremely helpful.
At Absolute Companion Care, our care staff are always available to remind older adults to take their meds precisely when and exactly how they are prescribed, in conjunction with an entire variety of customized in-home care services to inspire seniors to remain secure, independent, and flourishing. Make contact with our Butler senior care experts at 410-357-9640 for a complimentary in-home consultation to find out more!