Nearly nine in ten (89%) adults 65 and older report they are currently taking prescription medications. As a senior or caregiver for an aging parent, medication management is one of the most important parts to manage chronic conditions and symptoms. Here are 10 tips for Safe Medication Management.
Visit your Primary Care Provider (PCP) on a regular basis. At each visit it is important to bring your medication list to each visit and to obtain a new medication list after each visit. This ensures that both of you are on the same page as it is easy to forget that slight changes to your daily medication list can make a profound impact on your health.
Bring a friend or family member to your PCP that is willing to take notes. It is easy to want to be completely independent as we age but also easy to forget details of the visit. Bringing a friend will ensure everyone has a unified understanding of the next steps including medication updates/additions, tests to be scheduled, referrals, and updates to your plan of care.
Keep all of your medications and supplements in the same place and make sure they are stored properly. Your pharmacist can share with you any medications that need to be refrigerated or stored in a dark place.
Set a time weekly or biweekly to fill your medication planner. We recommend using a planner that coincides with the frequency of your medications. For example, if you are taking medications 2 times per day choose a planner that has slots for both AM (Morning) and PM (Evening). Choosing a consistent day will ensure you order refills in time for the next week. We see that many local pharmacies are delivering medications at low or no cost. Pillpak.com is a good option if you are wanting to have the medications in prefilled packets that can be taken throughout the day.
If your loved one has memory loss you will want to check in regularly to make sure they are taking their medications on time and each day. Specifically, look for missed medications or pills on the floor.
Make sure that your family member is able to fill the medication. You will want to supervise if they are experiencing memory loss to ensure they are filling the planners correctly.
There are many options for medication reminders if one is struggling to remember to take medications each day. Using a medication reminder app such as Medisafe Medication Reminder
available on Android, or iPhone can be helpful. Tabtime Vibe Vibrating Pill Timer Reminder or Med Minder are both programmable medication boxes that can be set up in advance to remind you to take your medications on time and open when the time has come. Lina Supnet-Zapata, Executive Director of MIR Care Consultants, explains that because most elderly people are on multiple medications, they are at greater risk for adverse drug reactions. A good medication management system can minimize the risk of common medication errors like taking the wrong drug, missing doses, or taking more than prescribed.
Plan for medication refills in advance. Some physicians have limited office hours and waiting until the last minute may delay a refill which can have negative implications for care.
Have a relationship with your pharmacist and share with them your up to date medication list from your PCP. It is important to build a relationship with our local pharmacist and keep all medications with one pharmacy. Using multiple pharmacies can lead to adverse medication interactions if all parties do not know your comprehensive medication list.
Hire a home care agency that can provide medication reminders for your loved ones. Blue Water Homecare is a locally owned and operated agency that specializes in supporting seniors as they age in place. Our care professionals are all supervised by a Registered Nurse and can provide medication reminders in their homes.
Aging poses many challenges as we navigate the aging process. Ensuring medications are taken as prescribed can decrease the risk of falls, infections, and unnecessary hospitalizations. If you or family members are struggling with taking medications as prescribed you may benefit from a complimentary consultation from a Blue Water Homecare nurse. Please call us at (512) 872-2955 to schedule a time for us to meet in person or virtually. We offer day, evening, and weekend consultations.