With over 10,000 prescription medications available in the United States, it’s no wonder that so many older individuals – approximately one in three – are taking a minimum of five of them every day. And family caregivers recognize firsthand the challenges of medication management for seniors. In fact, studies have shown that as many as 55% of prescription drugs are being taken incorrectly for a variety of reasons, and the repercussions can be extremely dangerous.
Educate yourself on each medication.
If you’re not sure of the correct dose, management or side effects of a senior’s medications, ask the physician or pharmacist for the following types of information:
- The name of the drug (brand and generic)
- Why the medication is being recommended
- The length and duration for taking the medicine
- The correct dosage and time of day to take the medicine
- Potential side effects and drug interactions, along with how the medication should be taken (i.e., on an empty stomach, with a full glass of water, etc.)
Additionally, make sure to ask the senior’s doctor to periodically perform a medication review to verify which medications are still recommended and which ones could perhaps be stopped.
Prepare an up-to-date list of all medications.
Creating a comprehensive list of all prescribed medicines, OTC medicines, and vitamins and supplements that the older person is taking can be a tremendous help at doctors’ appointments. The list should cover all of the information above, plus:
- The shape, size and color of the medicine (include a picture of the drug if possible)
- The prescribing physician’s name and telephone number
- The date each medication was first taken, and whether or not it should be refilled and taken ongoing
- The date the list was last updated
As one of the top-rated providers of Phoenix senior in-home care as well as care throughout the surrounding areas in Arizona, we can help put into practice these medication management tips for older adults, as well as provide a full range of customized home care services to enhance health and quality of life. Contact us at 480-498-2324 more information and to find out if our services are available in your area.