Here are several tips that can help you with this important task.
6 Tips for Helping a Senior Manage their Medications
- Keep an updated listed of prescriptions. Don’t just list the names of the prescriptions. Be sure to document the dosage strength (mg, for example), the purpose of the medicine, and the prescribing doctor’s name and phone number. If you’d prefer to handwrite your list, this medication record template is helpful. Make and distribute copies to family members, neighbors, or anyone else who might assist in caregiving.
- Make sure prescriptions are stored properly. The medicine cabinet might be convenient for storing over-the-counter pain relievers, but not all prescription medications can withstand the warmth and moisture of the bathroom. Prescription medication can be adversely affected by heat, air, light, and moisture. Read all labels carefully to be sure that you know how to store each medication correctly.
- Organize more than one week of medication at a time. Once you get into the routine of organizing your senior’s medications, you’ll find that it’s easier to do two, three, or even a month’s worth of sorting at a time. Plastic pill organizers are fairly inexpensive, so buy a couple of extra to use. One advantage of managing medication weeks ahead is that you’ll know well in advance when your senior will run out of each medication.
- Use the same pharmacy to renew prescriptions. Find a pharmacy that is convenient for picking up new prescriptions and stick with it. Most have software that will identify potential interactions between patient’s prescriptions.
- Set alerts for your senior at dosage time. Don’t rely on memory--yours or your senior’s—as a reminder for taking medicine. Set alarms that go off at times the senior needs to take his or her medicine. Newer electronic pill containers can even send text messages or sound an alarm when it is time for a dosage.
- Be aware of new symptoms and side effects. If your senior loved one needs to add a new prescription to the mix, review the label for any potential side effects. Then observe their behavior closely and be sure to call the doctor right away if you have any concerns.
When medicines and supplements are prescribed to help your senior sustain his or her health, it’s important to keep lists and pill containers updated. Take time each week to organize prescriptions properly, so you can rest assured that your loved one is consistently receiving the right dose at the right time.
At Five Star Senior Living communities, our caregivers help each resident safely manage their medication. Call us today to learn about medication management services!