Medication Management Tips for Seniors
Nearly 90% of Americans over 65 use prescription medication. Prescriptions are essential in preventing, mitigating, or treating many health conditions. The key is ensuring you're taking them properly.
Seniors with dementia, Alzheimer's disease, or average memory loss may have difficulty remembering when and where to take their medication. It is easy to mix prescriptions up, which can lead to dangerous side effects.
Raleigh Wellness & Behavioral health provides medication management for seniors because we are passionate about helping people live comfortably at home. These medication management tips may be helpful for seniors who have difficulty remembering to take their prescribed medications or keeping track of them.
Effective Medication Management for Seniors
Multiple prescriptions are not unusual for older adults. Mismanaging various medications can lead to an adverse drug event (ADE) when a person is harmed or has adverse reactions.
Alarmingly, ADEs are responsible for approximately 350,000 hospitalizations per year. Adults over 65 are twice as likely as those younger than them to visit the emergency room. They are also nearly seven times more likely than younger adults to be hospitalized after an emergency visit.
According to the CDC, the causes of most drug-related hospital visits are blood thinners, seizure medications, diabetes medications, and opioids.
It can be dangerous to take too many prescriptions, miss doses, or mix prescriptions. Fortunately, the right tools can help you manage medications safely. Here are our top recommendations for safely managing medications.
Proper Storage and Organization of Prescription Medication
Prescription medication must be appropriately stored and organized. The storage of medicines should be in a dry, cool environment. Heat and moisture can adversely affect the effectiveness of medications.
It is absolutely essential for some drugs that may need to be kept in the refrigerator.
The label will typically indicate this but consult your pharmacist or healthcare providers if in doubt. You should also make sure to keep prescription medications out of reach of children and pets.
It is advisable to avoid mixing medications, but keeping them together can make things easier.
Label all prescriptions clearly. You can print labels in a larger font or color-code stickers if the text is difficult to read.
Managing Medication Means Taking a Careful Inventory
Make sure you take a thorough inventory of all medications. By doing so, you can make sure all medications are being handled correctly. It also allows you to determine if any prescriptions are expired.
Review every bottle and take a note:
Name of the drug
The purpose of the medication
Should be taken with or without food
It should be taken at night or in the morning
Prescribing healthcare provider
It can be used for either short- or long-term purposes.
Warnings on the label
You may also want to look into possible drug interactions. You should also note any vitamins or over-the-counter medications that are regularly taken.
Pre-sorting dosages is another vital aspect of senior medication management. Pill organizers make this easy to do ahead of time and remove guesswork when taking your medicine every day. These organizers can be especially handy for seniors who must remember to take their medications at different times throughout the day.
Most pill organizers come with seven or fourteen compartments, one for each day and one for the evenings. Some may have more.
You can cut some pills in half before putting them in their respective compartments.
Loved one can ensure that one is taking their prescribed medications as directed by the doctor by pre-sorting them once a week.
It's easier for many seniors to remember to take their medication if a pill organizer is kept on their nightstand, kitchen, or bathroom countertop. This puts the pills in a place where it will be noticed and not forgotten about.
Scheduling and Reminders
You can avoid missing doses or double-ups by setting alarms or creating a simple scheduling system.
Caregivers and seniors who take multiple medications will find this especially helpful.
You can set a digital alarm or notification alert on your phone using an alarm clock or a mobile app. It's an excellent option for tech-savvy seniors.
They'll be able to tell when the reminder sounds that it's time for them to take their medication.
You can also create a log. For younger generations, spreadsheets and apps may be more appealing than a pen and paper system.
A medication chart should include the name, dose, date, and day of each medication.
You can use the record to keep track of your medications. It will be easier to use a pill organizer to keep track of your medications. It only needs to include the date and the day of the week.
Dosage - Taking Medications As Directed
While medications are generally safe when taken as directed, there is always a risk. It is essential to follow the instructions when managing medication.
Although it may seem obvious, misuse of prescription drugs can cause the ADEs mentioned above.
When your loved one receives a prescription for medication they have never used before note the directions and the dosage instructions and pay attention to the label and report any side effects or warnings.
You can also research drug interactions. It's a good idea to contact the healthcare provider who prescribed the medication(s) if you have any questions or are unsure.
An important note is to not try to self-medicate as this could make your condition worse.
Refills & Appointments
All prescriptions must be filled on time so your loved one doesn't miss a dose. You might be able to arrange for a supply of 90 days, but this is up to the one prescribing and insurance coverage.
It is also possible to order many medications by mail so you don't need to drive to the pharmacy..
In order for medication management to work correctly, it is crucial for seniors who take medication to regularly meet with their provider. Your provider might also decide whether to give you a refill. You can attend your loved one's visit and ask questions and bring notes about any questions.
Medication Management for Seniors in Raleigh & The Triangle
It can be a difficult and time-consuming task, but it helps to ensure seniors' safety.
Raleigh Behavioral health and wellness is an excellent option if you are a primary caregiver for seniors or have a medical condition that makes managing your prescriptions difficult. Contact us today to set up an appointment.
What qualifies as medication management?
Medication management refers to the process of ensuring that a person takes their medications correctly and safely, in order to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. This may involve coordinating with other health care providers to ensure that all medications are compatible, monitoring for side effects and drug interactions, and providing education and support to the patient on how to properly take their medications.
Who can benefit from medication management?
Medication management can be beneficial for anyone who takes one or more medications regularly. It can help people keep track of their medications, make sure they are taking them correctly, and avoid potential drug interactions. Medication management can also help people manage chronic conditions and identify any side effects they may be experiencing.