For safe medications managing, you need to read the supplied instructions. Use only trusted Information sources ( listen to your doctor’s or pharmacist’s instructions carefully ).
You should keep your meds in one place and take the correct medication dose. Make sure that your medication reminder is set up. You need to establish your system in order to manage medications right. You can start immediately by taking the below suggestions.
Probably, managing medication is one of the most difficult tasks for seniors and their carers. Not only are the names often difficult to read and pronounce, but also you must take the meds at the correct time of day, following your doctor’s instructions.
Often, seniors have multiple health problems that are a natural consequence of becoming old. Because of this, they need medication for each condition resulting in many different pills (this is known as polypharmacy). There is also the added problem for the doctor and pharmacist to ensure the meds don’t interact dangerously.
If you find you have problems managing your medication or you need some information to show your caregiver, read the following tips and remember you can always ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Medication Management Guide for Seniors:
Only use Trusted Information Sources
These days, almost everyone has access to the internet and the many websites offering medical advice. Remember these websites don’t have your full medical history available, and whatever you do, don’t give it to them.
If you must use an online information source, only use the official websites for the health system used in your country. This is because some countries only license certain drugs for use with a specific illness, and this may not be the one you are used to.
Although a website is very handy, it’s far better to speak to your medical practitioner or pharmacist who will be more than happy to give competent and professional advice.
Furthermore, don’t jump around from one pharmacist to another, use one that you feel comfortable with and build up a relationship.
Read the Supplied Instructions
Every prescribed drug comes with printed instructions supplied by the manufacturer detailing likely side effects and interactions with other drugs. You’ll also receive specific instructions from your medical practitioner relevant to your specific medical condition. Your pharmacist will usually print this onto an adhesive label and fix it to the drug container.
This information isn’t there for fun! You must read the manufacturer’s instructions and take note of how the medication reacts, especially if it’s a new med. If you experience side effects make sure you inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately. You must always follow your doctor’s instructions precisely even if they contradict the manufacturer’s. But, if you are in doubt, ask questions.
Keep Your Meds in One Place
The biggest advantage of keeping your meds together is that you probably won’t forget any. You’ll also notice if you run low and need a new prescription.
Also, remember to keep them out of reach of young children who might think the brightly colored pills look very attractive indeed. We advise you to obtain a plastic box with a sealable lid and keep all your medications inside. Use this as your ‘drugstore’ and sort your pills into a daily dispenser that you can carry around with you.
Also, remember that certain medications might need to be stored at a specific temperature or out of direct sunlight. Store these accordingly.
Pre-sort your Medications
This is probably one of the best ways to manage your medications. Buy yourself a daily pill dispenser covering a week. There will usually be three or four compartments available for each day, representing different times: breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime.
Sort each pill into its appropriate compartment and you won’t have to fumble around every time to get the correct one. Also, organizing your meds like this allows you to plan for repeat prescriptions if you expect to run out next week.
Maintain a Medication List
Consider this for a moment. What happens if you are involved in an accident? An ambulance might take you to the hospital where you’ll receive specific medication. Your medical notes might not always be available to the medical professionals treating you, and you might not be in a condition to advise them on what medication you already use.
So, make a list of all medications you take, including the correct medical name of the drug, your dosage and how often you take them.
Furthermore, you may as well include your medical conditions on the list and don’t forget your blood type if you know it. Carry this on you at all times in a safe place. Start here.
You can buy bracelets and necklaces specifically designed to keep this information safe and dry, and, even better, you can wear it all the time. Don’t forget to update the list if your medication changes.
Set up a Medication Reminder
After a while, taking medication at certain times of the day becomes second nature. But, what happens if your memory becomes worse? Set up a reminder for yourself. Perhaps, something you look at every day.
If you have a paper calendar hanging in your kitchen, write yourself a reminder. If you carry a mobile cell phone (remember they’re useful in emergencies) put a reminder on the built-in calendar along with an alarm for when the meds are due. There are also medication reminder apps like Medisafe.
Double-check your Medications
It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned you are when you sort out your weekly meds, if you have problems holding the tiny pills or even seeing them, you may make a mistake. Ask someone to check you have sorted them out correctly. This could be a friend or a family member.
Some pharmacists provide a service for a small fee, where they preload all your medications into blister packs, according to when you need to take them. If yours offers this service, take advantage of it. They will also know when you need a repeat prescription and organize that too.
Sometimes, our memories become worse as we get older anyway, and this will help. Additionally, this is especially useful for those with chronic memory problems such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Dispose of Old Drugs
Some medications have a shelf life after which they must not be used. Your doctor might also change your medication leaving you with a stock of redundant pills. Don’t leave these around the house, where you might accidentally use them.
And furthermore, never flush them down the toilet. Take them to your pharmacy, who will dispose of them safely, according to your national and local environmental waste disposal regulations.
Regular doctor’s Appointments
Everyone’s health will vary over time and you need to have your dosage updated depending on your requirements. Ask your doctor how often you should visit for an appointment and keep to the routine. Don’t forget to take your medication list with you so your doctor can check you are taking the correct dosage.
How do these tips affect me?
Any drug can be dangerous if you don’t follow your doctor’s or pharmacist’s instructions carefully. Make sure you read all instructions, take the correct medication dose at the appropriate time of day and try not to miss any.
Get refills when you are running low, don’t wait until you’ve run out. Give your old and unwanted medication to your pharmacist, who will dispose of them properly.
I am sure you have pulled some usable advice for better medication management. If you need further advice, try to speak to a medical professional or your pharmacist. They know what they’re talking about!
Many seniors have problems with smashing pills if you are one of them be sure to look for some pill grinders. If you are looking for more medication aids check out this guide to medication assistive devices.