Most seniors need assistance with medication management. Many take multiple medications throughout the day, and it’s easy for a mix-up to happen. Taking medication correctly is essential for treating your older adult’s health conditions and managing their symptoms. That’s why medication management for seniors is so important. Here are seven tips to help a senior with their medication management.
1. Keep everything in one location
Keep all medications, vitamins, OTC meds, and supplements in one location. Storing them in different spots means it’s easy to lose track of where they are. By gathering everything in one place, you can see exactly what’s being taken and when to dispose of expired medications. Keep all of their pill bottles and packages in a clear plastic storage bin to ensure that everything stays together.
2. Make sure medication is stored properly
In general, medication should be kept in a cool, dry place, which means the bathroom medicine cabinet isn’t a good place to store meds because of the heat and humidity. Unless they’re refrigerated, keep meds together away from windows and sources of heat, such as stoves and ovens.
3. Create and maintain an up-to-date medication list
To prevent adverse drug interactions, it’s essential to know exactly what medications your senior is taking. Keeping an up-to-date list of their meds will help you do this. Be sure to record:
- Names of each med
- How often each one is taken
- What dosage they take
- The name of the prescriber
- The purpose of each med (symptoms it’s supposed to treat)
- Whether each item is for short-term or long-term use
4. Pre-sort medications for the week
Staying organized is essential for good medication management. Using a pill organizer allows you to help your senior pre-sort their prescriptions for the upcoming week.
The best type of pill organizer is one with enough compartments for every dose they’ll need throughout the day. For example, if they take four doses seven times per week, they’ll need an organizer with twenty-eight compartments.
Split any pills ahead of time so your senior won’t need to fumble with a pill cutter or split pills before taking them.
5. Make sure medication instructions are clear
Follow the doctor’s instructions for medication. This minimizes the risk of harmful drug interaction, side effects, or a reduction in the drug’s effectiveness.
Make sure your senior understands which medications are safe to take at the same time and which need to be spaced out to prevent negative side effects.
6. Set up medication reminders and a tracking system
With so many medications, it can be challenging for seniors and their caregivers to remember when to take each dose. A medication reminder and tracking log can help your senior know that they’ve taken the right meds at the correct times.
For a reminder, if your loved one has a mobile phone, set a series of alarms on their phone. There are also apps for medication management that you can use. If they don’t have a phone, a basic alarm clock can work well.
An easy way to track when meds are taken is to take notes with paper and pen. You can create a simple chart with the medication name, dose, day, and time of day. When your senior takes each dose, they record it with a checkmark or X.
7. Plan ahead for medication refills
It’s essential to get refills on time with long-term prescription meds so your senior won’t run out and miss doses. If possible, ask the doctor for a 90 day supply through a mail order pharmacy. Many pharmacies offer automatic refills and will notify you when the prescription is ready to be picked up. Some pharmacies will also deliver so you don’t have to pick them up.
You’ll feel better knowing that your senior’s medications are being managed properly and safely.
Need more help managing medication?
Let us know! At Home Instead, our mission is lifting the spirits of those we serve by offering them dependable and affordable home care options. To learn more about Home Instead Senior Care or to schedule a FREE consultation for a senior in Northern Milwaukee, or the surrounding areas today, please visit us at homeinsteadwi.wpengine.com.