Age brings in its own set of rules as far as medication is considered. Seniors are required to take multiple medications through the day. Most seniors will have prescription medication that needs to be taken on a daily basis. Taking medication correctly is essential to manage health conditions as one ages. That is why medication management is a critical part of senior care.
Here are a few important tips on how to manage medication safely as a senior:
- Keep all your medicines in one place. Do not distribute them in different locations like the kitchen and the bedroom. It is a good habit to have one box which has all your medicines. You can also keep a note inside the box on the dosages and times to take these medicines.
- Stay organized to improve medication management and ensure that you keep all pills in clear bottles or packets. If you are more comfortable then use tablet dispensers that help you plan your medicines for a week. You can even rope in a family member to help prepare this.
- Ensure that you store medication properly in a cool dry place. Bathroom cabinets are the worst places to store medicines. Medicines should be kept out of reach of children and pets. Certain medication requires refrigeration so ensure you speak to you pharmacist about this.
- Regularly check your medication to check for expiry and other cautionary procedures prescribed for safe storage of the medication. Ask your family to help create a record of each prescription you have. Ensure that you have a list of medicines like vitamins and over the counter medication that need to be refilled every month. You can also create a chart of which medication has to be taken for which condition. This helps the caregiver administer the medication even in a situation where you are unable to communicate to them.
- Avoid taking over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Always ask you doctor to provide you with options for vitamins and other supplements that are suitable for your current health condition. This minimizes the risk of side effects and any negative effects of taking medicines.
- Set up a medication reminder and tracking system. It can be a simple chart and an alarm system or an app which is a smart tracker for medication. Regularly updating the chart helps caregivers and doctors track your progress and adapt your medication based on improvements.
- Take medication on time. Set alarms on your phone and have a particular time in which you take your medication. As we age the frequency of taking medicines increases and our memory isn’t at its best. So, it is best to have an alert or alarm system that would help you take your medications on time.
- If you have a change in medication, write down any changes you might have experienced. Sometimes a change in medication can cause dizziness or make you excessively sleepy. Certain times side effects can also mimic symptoms of dementia. It is important that you note these down and speak to your doctor immediately.
- Seniors suffering from cognitive impairment require help with their medication. The caregiver would become crucial in this case and as time progresses, they should not be allowed to manage their medications. It should be completely administered by the caregiver to prevent them from taking the wrong medicines or overdosing.
- Set up a system with your pharmacy to refill your medication on a regular basis. You can set up a system of weekly or monthly refills of your medication. You can also combine this with your monthly visit to the doctor for a regular check up and also get a refreshed prescription for your medication plan.
Putting a simple system in place will help seniors avoid medication mismanagement such as missing doses, taking the wrong drug or taking more than the prescribed amount. Medication management should be done with the family so that everyone is aware of your medication needs.