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Medication Management and Caregivers

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

To provide proper medication management and ensure the safety of the one you’re caring for, you need to know what each medication is for and any possible side effects. Further, you’ll need to work with your psychiatric provider to determine any potential interactions between the medications you’re taking.

For those with loved ones who have hearing, vision, or motor challenges, it’s up to caregivers to act as their eyes, ears, and hands to make sure they take the right dose of tall their medications.

An elderly sitting on a bench at the pier of a beach

How Caregivers Can Help with Their Loved One’s Medication Management

Work with Your Healthcare Provider To Develop a Medication Plan

Having regular appointments with your healthcare provider can help to monitor for any potential interactions or side effects and ensure things go smoothly.

Steps To Take as a Caregiver for Medication Management

  • For each appointment, create a list of all prescription and non-prescription medications, as well as supplements and herbs so your psychiatry provider can review what all that you take. You can also talk to the provider to confirm that the medications are still required.

  • Learn the condition that each medicine treats. Make sure you understand the dose and when to take it.

  • Ask your provider which medications should be taken every day and which ones are only for specific conditions or problems.

  • Make sure you check to see if the medication is covered by your loved one's insurance, or see if generics can be prescribed if they aren’t covered.

  • Make sure you and your loved ones fully understand how to take any newly prescribed medications.

Be sure to ask the provider all of your questions about the medicines your loved one takes.

Monitor How Much Medication You Have Left

As a caregiver, you'll want to keep track of how many refills you have left for each medicine. You should know when the next refill is due ahead of time.

Plan ahead - you can call in refills up until a week before the expiration date. Ask your provider for details about the medicines that you can obtain a supply of within 90 days.

Be Aware of Potential Medicine Interactions

Many older adults take multiple medicines, which creates the potential for interactions if you aren’t prepared. Be sure to talk with each provider about the medicines being taken. Some interactions can cause unwanted or serious side-effects. Below are some of the different interactions that can happen:

  • Drug-drug interactions - Older people are more likely to have more harmful reactions between multiple medicines. For example, some interactions can cause sleepiness or increase the risk of falls. Others may interfere with how well the medicines work.

  • Drug-alcohol interactions - Older people may be more affected by alcohol. Mixing alcohol and medicines may cause a loss of memory, affect coordination, or cause irritability. It can also increase the risk of falls.

  • Drug-food interactions - Certain foods can cause some medicines not to work as well. For example, you should avoid taking the blood thinner (anticoagulant) warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) with foods high in vitamin K, such as kale. If you can't avoid this, then eat a consistent amount to minimize adverse effects.

Organize Medications Ahead of Time


With multiple medicines to keep track of, it's important to to employ strategies to keep them organized:

  • A current list of all medications and supplements, as well as any allergies, should be kept. To every appointment or hospital visit, bring all your medications.

  • All medicines should be kept in a safe place.

  • All medicines should be checked for expiration or use by dates.

  • All medicines should be kept in their original containers. To keep track of the medications that are needed each day, use weekly pill organizers.

  • To help you keep track of when each medicine is given during the day, create a system.

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