Avoiding Med Mismanagement

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Prescription drugs are a scary business and sometimes, with the best will in the world, it’s easy for seniors and their loved ones to get a little mixed up on what they’re taking, when they should be taking it, where it’s stored, and what might cause a negative interaction.

It’s really no surprise why. In a survey, more than half of the seniors polled said they took at least five different prescription drugs regularly, and about 25 percent of the seniors took between 10 and 19 pills each day. That’s enough to confuse anyone.

Unfortunately, because many of these drugs are very strong, and medication regimens are often customized to a senior’s specific health condition and the other meds they are taking, there is precious little room for error.

Here are some ways you can help:

Make a List: This should include every prescription medicine your senior is taking, as well as anything over the counter such as a vitamin supplement, probiotic or low-dose aspirin. Other items to include:

  • Your senior's name and date of birth
  • Each drug’s name
  • Dosage
  • Time/frequency taken
  • Whether food or liquid should be taken with it
  • Food or beverages to be avoided (i.e. leafy greens for blood thinners; alcohol)
  • Pharmacy and health care provider names, addresses and telephone numbers
  • Family emergency contact information

Keep a copy of the list prominently posted in your senior’s home and make sure one or two family members also have a copy. When filling prescriptions, bring it to the pharmacist for review.

One-stop shop for meds: Consolidating all prescriptions at one pharmacy is not only more convenient, it can help the pharmacist keep better track of any drugs your senior is taking and any possible interactions or side effects.

Mail-order?: If this is an option, it might help you take care of ordering your senior’s meds for them so they don’t run out. Just be sure to regularly consult a pharmacist in-person to red flag possible interactions or side effects.

Read and save the literature: We know, we know, it can seem like reams of paper come with every prescription, but it really is valuable information to prevent or alert you to new complications.

Get a med tray: They come in all shapes and sizes (consult your pharmacist for the one that suits your senior’s medicine regimen best). This will help both you and your senior keep track of what’s being taken.

For inquiring about medicine reminders or more information about caring for seniors, please contact Home Instead of Central Oregon at 541-330-6400.


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