Managing and organizing medications can be one of the most challenging tasks for aging adults and their caregivers. It is a complex process and oftentimes medications and quantities of medications change. It is critical that older adults take only the medications prescribed, take them exactly as prescribed and for them to obtain confirmation from their physician and pharmacist that there will not be potentially dangerous drug interactions and complications. Senior care communities have resources to help residents manage these medication needs.
Medication management is especially important for patients with multiple diseases and illnesses. Taking numerous medications is known as polypharmacy and is particularly common among older adults due to the prevalence of multiple medical issues. In order to avoid possible medication complications follow the tips below.
- Use A Medication Organizer
Choose a medication organizer that best meets your loved one’s needs; some have morning and night slots, others have single slots for each day. Medication organizers can help eliminate some of the possibility of human error such as overdosing, as they enable caretakers to clearly see whether the medication was administered on a particular day.
- Make a List
Make a full list of all medications—including prescription, over the counter, and supplements—that the patient takes. Present the list to all of the patient’s physicians and pharmacists to prevent harmful drug interactions.
- Use a Pill Dispenser
Organizing medicines in a pill dispenser lessens confusion and creates easy access. Choose a dispenser with large font and sturdy design—the last thing you want is for your parent to have to fumble with lids and spill pills across the floor. Even with a pill box, you may want to retain original bottles and leaflets somewhere safe for your records. There are also services that sort pills into individual, labelled packets according to the time of day pills are meant to be taken and ship them to your door each month.
- Set Up a Pill Reminder
Pill reminders help ensure a parent never misses or doubles a dose. They come in a variety of formats, such as telephone reminder services and specialized alarm clocks. There are also a slew of apps you can download to your parent’s smartphone if he or she has one (as well as your own for safe measure).
- Use a Medication App
If you use a smartphone or tablet, there are a wide variety of apps that can help you manage your medications. They include those where you can look up information about the drug, set up your medication schedule and get reminders to take your pills.
- Keep Your Bottles in One Place
In order to prevent any losses or mishaps, all medications should be kept in one place. A SafeTote Rx Locking Tote Bag is great for bottle storage, because it can be locked and it can be easily transported from place to place.
Other Tips for Elderly Medication Storage:
- Check Prescription Labels Often
When looking at prescription labels, check the expiration date and refill information. Properly discard old medication. When running low on a medication that has a refill, call your pharmacist before you run out. This way you will not miss any doses. If you think you may need a refill on a medication that has no refills left, call your doctor’s office as soon as possible to allow time for the doctor to call the pharmacist.
- Dispose of Old Drugs
Medications have expiration dates. Pay close attention to these because taking expired medications can cause serious side effects. Dispose of these drugs and consult your physical about getting a refill prescription if it is still necessary.