Chronic ailments come with age; therefore, it is not surprising that older adults use more prescribed and over-the-counter medication than any other age group. While medication can improve quality of life if appropriately used, our senior loved ones may have difficulty keeping track of them. This also means they are more susceptible to the dangers of mismanaged medication. Following medication guidelines ensure that your loved one will receive the benefits of their medication and avoid any adverse reactions. This is why it is crucial to create a prescription management plan specifically for your loved one’s needs. To ensure his or her safety, follow these medication management tips.
Research and Document
As a caregiver, learn as much as you can about each medication: research the dosages, frequency, and potential side effects. It is also important to know why the drug has been prescribed and by whom. In addition, ask about how the prescription should be taken — the time of day, with or without food, etc. Make a list of all pertinent medication information along with the name of the doctor who prescribed it, including the doctor’s specialty and contact information. Keep a copy of this list for yourself and also with the medication. Be sure to include over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements as well.
As simple as this may seem, the average older adult takes five or more prescriptions per day, each with its own individual instructions. This can be overwhelming; however, there are some simple solutions to ensure your loved one’s safety. One common option is a weekly pill case where medication is organized by day and even time of day. Nonetheless, your loved one must understand how to use it properly to avoid misusing medications. Depending on the situation, it may be better to use the original containers and not mix everything in one.
Another alternative is to create a checklist to be completed each day. The list needs to be explicit with all medication instructions. A written plan is easy enough, but a typed one can be printed for daily use. Additionally, tying the medication to your loved one’s daily routine may help to form a habit. For example, medication to be taken in the morning with food can be taken at breakfast. Of course, this will vary depending on the medication and its instructions.
Lastly, utilize technology to create an organized system. For example, setting an alarm on your loved one’s clock, watch, or cell phone provides a reminder if needed. There are even medication alarms, watches, and bracelets specifically programmed to send reminder alerts. Another tech solution is automatic medication dispensers that can be programmed to distribute the correct dosage at the proper time. And for tech-savvy older adults, an interactive mobile app like Pillboxie or Medisafe sends reminders and keeps track of medication already taken.
Do not hesitate to ask your loved one’s pharmacist or doctors any questions you may have, especially when a new drug is involved. It can sometimes be challenging to remember the details of the conversation hours afterward, so be sure to write down answers.
Consider Professional Care
Even with thought and planning, sometimes well-organized prescription management plans are still too much for seniors to follow, putting their safety at risk. This is when a professional caregiver is helpful — being by your loved ones’ side and reminding him or her to take medication correctly. Your loved one will no longer need to keep track of his or her medication with a caregiver. This solution offers peace of mind in knowing your loved one is cared for even when you cannot do it.
How Can Deano’s Senior Transit Help?
We understand the challenges that come with caring for a senior adult. Finding reliable transportation should not be one of them. Deano’s Senior Transit is committed to providing affordable, safe, and comfortable transportation for seniors. With free Wi-Fi and 12-inch screen displays, you are guaranteed an enjoyable ride no matter what the distance is. If you need senior transit services, give us a call at (918) 973-3321 or contact us today!