Get the Facts About Safe Medication Management for Seniors
Healthy Aging | 05/6/21
Do you take 5 or more prescription drugs? You’re in the company of about 36% of U.S. seniors who do. Even if you take just a couple of medications, you probably take a few additional pills each day such as vitamins, over-the-counter pain relievers, etc.
With such a variety of pills going into your body on a regular basis, it’s important to practice good medication management. Drug interactions can be dangerous, or even deadly. And missing or skipping a medication or taking more than you should because you think it will work better are just as risky to your health. In short, dealing with medication management for seniors is a must. It’s especially important for older adults who have advancing memory issues.
There are several ingenious pillboxes and mobile apps on the market that can help properly manage medications and avoid common medication mistakes often made by seniors. Tried and true safe medication management tips can also help. Surrounding yourself with a good senior care support team is also vitally important. That includes your primary care physician, your pharmacist, and family members.
In addition, if you live in a Life Plan Community like Meadow Lakes, you can also count on increased assistance if and when you need it as you age. Help from caring professionals when it comes to taking medications and other daily living needs will always be available, as well as additional living options including assisted living, with enhanced senior care.
Here’s a list of 8 safe medication management tips:
- Keep A Medication List – Write down a complete list of your prescriptions and any other pills (vitamins, supplements, pain relievers, etc.) that you take regularly. Update it as pill intake changes. Make copies for your wallet, your friends, your bedside, and kitchen counter.
- Involve Your Doctor – Sit down with your doctor and review/update your list at each visit to check for potential dangers like drug interactions or possible issues with any changes in your health. Share the list with every doctor you visit. Don’t assume one physician is up to date on what another physician prescribes.
- Be Your Own Advocate – If a doctor prescribes a new medication, ask questions about it. For example, understand the “take with or without food” rules and “morning vs. evening” recommendations. Also ask about possible food interactions. Grapefruit juice affects cholesterol drugs for example. Milk affects antibiotics.
- Know the Side Effects – Understand the side effects, especially the ones critical to senior health, and discuss ways to avoid and/or control them. Taking certain medications before bed can help avoid effects like dizziness for example.
- Never Self-Prescribe, Change Dosages or Take Some Else’s Medications – It’s tempting to play doctor and take more or less than what’s prescribed, especially if there are side effects or cost concerns. But don’t do it. Also avoid “borrowing” a pill prescribed for someone else. Prescription dosages are carefully decided based on the individual. Sharing them can be dangerous, especially to senior health.
- Don’t Be Shy About Questions – It’s your body, so it’s your duty to understand what a drug is and why you’re taking it. That goes for any medication prescribed or recommended to you, even if it’s just for a temporary condition like a sinus infection. If possible, take along a family member or friend to appointments as another pair of ears. Instructions can be complex, and they may think of good questions that you don’t.
- One Pharmacy for All – Today’s pharmacies use computer records that can alert your pharmacist to potential drug interactions anytime a new drug is prescribed for you. You can also look to the pharmacy that regularly fills your prescriptions for answers to any medication questions you might have.
- Consider Using Organizers and Apps – There are many great solutions that promote safe medication management for seniors. Prepackaged pill packs are a great option and are typically covered by Medicare plans. Even the newer pill boxes are more helpful thanks to extra slots and markings to help you organize morning, midday, and evening pills. Some even come with reminder alarms. Check for phone apps that can remind you to take a pill. Or go even higher tech with a pill box that automatically dispenses pills when a family member triggers it remotely from their smartphone. Amazing!
The team at Meadow Lakes is here to help.
Among the wonderful benefits of living at Meadow Lakes is the availability of
on-site healthcare services with priority access and our Resident Health Center staffed with registered nurses. If you or your family has concerns about safe medication management for seniors, we’re here to help with advice and guidance.
To learn more about our senior care services, and also the wonderful lifestyle you can enjoy in our Life Plan Community, simply complete our tour request form and one of our sales counselors will be in touch shortly. We look forward to speaking with you!