“Take 2 hours after eating. Avoid exposure to sunlight while taking this medication.”
“Take on an empty stomach. Do not take with aspirin.”
“Take twice per day with meals and a full glass of water. Can result in excessive drowsiness.”
Medication safety for seniors can be overwhelming. Many older adults must attempt to properly juggle several prescriptions, from different physicians, taken at several times each day, with assorted and perhaps even contradictory guidelines. This is the day to day routine of countless older adults, with as many as 36% taking as many as five or more prescription medications simultaneously.
Medicine mismanagement for seniors is understandably prevalent, and can lead to dire results, making it essential to execute a strategy to ensure older adults remain safe and compliant with doctors’ prescribed medicine regimens. These pointers, from the St. Louis senior care experts at Compassionate Nursing Services, are a great starting point:
- Store medicines in one secure, centralized location. Gather up all medications the individual takes on a frequent basis, both over-the-counter and doctor prescribed, and place together in a heavy-duty container. Ordinarily, the bathroom medicine cabinet is not a great storage space, considering that the moisture and warmth could affect specific prescriptions. If a particular medication requires refrigeration, keep an empty bottle as a placeholder in the bin to act as a reminder. Keep the bin in a cool, dry location, securely beyond the reach of children and pets.
- Put together an inventory of all medications being taken. Make certain to include in your log every medication’s name, how frequently and what amounts are prescribed, the name of the prescribing doctor, together with the cause for using the med. Once finished, share the list with the senior’s primary care doctor or pharmacist for an evaluation to make certain that there are not any negative contraindications. Put a reminder in your phone or calendar to review and edit the list on a consistent basis.
- Make use of a pill organizer. Pill organizers are useful in ensuring meds are taken correctly. At the start of every week, sort and put proper doses of every medication into the appropriate day/time box. Then go back and double check to be sure everything is in order.
- Examine instructions. It is imperative to know how each medication should be taken (such as with or without food, if the pill can be broken or crushed, etc.), and what possible side effects may be expected. If any instructions are ambiguous, talk to the prescribing doctor immediately for explanation. Gather this information into one succinct report and review/update on a consistent basis.
- Retain the services of an expert caregiver to assist. Managing several meds correctly could be daunting, and the addition of an experienced professional caregiver to give medication reminders can be extremely helpful.
At Compassionate Nursing Services, our senior care staff are always available to ensure meds are taken precisely when and exactly how they’re prescribed, in conjunction with a full variety of tailored in-home care services to encourage older adults to remain safe, independent, and thriving. Reach out and speak with our experts in St. Louis senior care at 314-432-4312 for a complimentary in-home consultation to find out more!