Most seniors have at least one prescription, and many have several. It can be difficult to keep track of all this medication. This can be especially true if the medications are taken at different times, taken several times a day, or prescribed by different doctors. Not taking these medications when scheduled or taking too many can be dangerous. When prescriptions come from different sources, medication safety becomes even more difficult to maintain. Medication safety for seniors doesn’t have to be complex if you take some time and put some of these safety tips for seniors into action.
Make sure to compile a list of all medications, including over-the-counter and supplements. Keep this list updated and readily available. This will help in many instances, such as a trip to the emergency room or a visit with a new doctor. When you have the list available, it will help each physician make a more informed choice about the medication, so they do not prescribe something that may work against already prescribed medicines. Medication safety starts with knowing what medications you are dealing with.
Organize and Remind
Organization is key to medication safety, and it consists of several factors. First, store all medications in the same place. This way, none get lost. If some require being kept cold and others don’t, you may need to make these two places, but limit the storage to one place of each temperature. This includes over-the-counter medications. This is also a good way to keep abreast of refills needed, so there is no gap in compliance due to running out of medication. You can also set it up with many pharmacies to automatically refill prescriptions, and some offer free delivery. As an alternative, check into mail-order plans so the medication comes automatically and you don’t have to worry about remembering refills.
Make it easier to know when to take medication and know if the medication was taken by taking a few minutes each week to separate the medication into a pill organizer. These come in many shapes and sizes. You can find ones that only track morning and evening dosages, but others are designed for three and four times a day. If medication is only taken once a day, you can get an organizer that will keep track of daily dosage for the entire month. If you or your loved one has trouble remembering when to take the medication, set up a reminder system. A simple alarm clock will work, or there are apps for smartphones that can remind you.
Know the Medication
Take time to understand everything about a medication. This includes knowing what the side effects are and when it might be necessary to call the doctor. Find out if the medication needs to be taken with food or on an empty stomach. Ask about any food reactions that might be a concern. For example, several medications require that you avoid grapefruit because of poor interaction. Although your doctor should know about any potential reactions with other medications, double-check with your pharmacist. Finally, be aware of possible reactions such as a sensitivity to the sun or a greater susceptibility to cold. When there are several medications involved, medication safety can be achieved by knowing all these things in advance and preparing for them.
Entering the senior years can feel like sailing into uncharted waters. Southfield wants to help make these years as easy as possible. If you or a loved one is at this point in life, subscribe today or contact us via 855.947.3838 or online to receive more safety tips for seniors and other information that can take the worry and mystery out of these golden years.