Have you noticed that Dad is more irritable than he used to be? Has there been a change in his sleeping patterns? These may be due to recent life-changing events, but they also could be signs of medication mismanagement.
As Dad ages, his memory may not be what it used to be. He may accidentally double up on a medication because he thinks he forgot to take it. This may be a sign of a medication management or memory issue. Fortunately, there are solutions to help him remember and minimize the chances of him accidentally taking two doses.
According to a study published by PubMed, 87% of seniors take one prescription medication, 36% of seniors take five prescriptions or more, and 38% use over-the-counter medications.
Medication management will help avoid potential drug risks and reduce preventable adverse drug effects with medications used by seniors. Follow these eight tips for better medication management.
- Take an inventory of Dad’s prescriptions
Gather all prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Review the medications prescribed and write down the names of the medications. Also, include the name and phone number of each prescribing doctor. Do research on the medications and their effects. Talk to a pharmacist or search the web for information. When researching the prescriptions, note if any of the medications, such as opioid painkillers, have addictive potential.
- Ensure proper storage
Most medications need to be kept in a cool, dry place. The bathroom cabinet is not a good storage location as the moisture and heat can affect them. The storage location should also be safe and secured from inquisitive children and pets. Medications requiring refrigeration or other specific storage should be stored accordingly.
- Keep an updated medication list
It is essential to know what prescribed drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements Dad is taking to avoid negative drug interactions. Include the following information:
- How often each is taken
- Name of prescriber
- Whether it is to be taken short-term or long-term
- Pre-sort weekly medications
Good medication management requires staying organized. Pill organizers are a great way to help. Get one that has a compartment for each dose for the week.
- Check for negative interactions
Because Dad may be taking several medications, it is important to check that none of them have negative interactions when taken together. Consult with a pharmacist or Dad’s primary doctor.
- Understand the instructions
It is important to follow medication instructions. Make sure that both you and Dad understand how and when medications are to be taken. If there is any uncertainty, ask his doctor and take detailed notes.
- Create a tracking system
When Dad is taking multiple medications, it can be difficult to remember when to take each. Create a simple chart or calendar. List each medication, dosage, day and time of day to be taken. As Dad takes his medication, he can cross out each time he takes his medicine. Should Dad have a form of dementia, he may require a caregiver’s help with a tracking system.
- Timely refills
It may be essential that Dad does not run out of or miss a dosage depending on the medication. Asking the doctor to prescribe a 90-day supply will help. The best solution is to talk to his pharmacist. Many pharmacies offer automatic refills and even delivery. It is also advisable to keep track of how many refills are available in case a follow-up appointment with the doctor is required to refill a medication.
Medication management is an important service that Dad can receive as a resident in an assisted living community. The professional caregivers in the communities that Life Care Services manages are experts in helping seniors not only take the correct amount of medicine but also noting if a resident is showing signs of a problem. To learn more or to request a tour, call 317-889-4584.