Many older adults need to take more than one medication to manage their conditions, but taking more medications can put your health at risk if you don’t take them as directed. Research has shown that 25% of Americans between the ages of 65 and 69 take at least five prescription medications to treat chronic health problems, and that number nearly doubles to 46% for adults between the ages of 70 and 79.
How Seniors Can Safely Manage Multiple Medications
Utilizing in-home and elderly care services can provide this support with a personalized care plan tailored to help fit your family’s needs, but here are a few steps to take multiple prescriptions safely:
Keep a current list of all your medications.
Include all prescription medications, over-the-counter products, and supplements in this list. It is also helpful to include the dosage, instructions for use, physical description of the medication, and any side effects to watch out for and notify your doctor. Keeping this list up to date and sharing it with your support system can safely help you take your medications. The American Society of Heath-System Pharmacists offers this excellent template for creating a medication list, but you can also make one yourself or use an app on your smartphone.
Fill your prescriptions at one pharmacy
Using the same pharmacy allows your pharmacist to have a central database of your prescriptions, and they can be more aware of potential drug interactions. Your pharmacist can also conduct a medication review with you. Medication reviews are personalized visits with a pharmacist about your medications in which he or she can make suggestions to help make taking your medication as easy as possible.
Use a pillbox or other system to organize your medication schedule.
Pillboxes with multiple compartments can be helpful for people who need to take several medications at different times throughout the day. It also helps you keep track of what medication you’ve already taken that day, avoiding the possibility of taking more than your prescribed dose. Some pillboxes even work with apps on your smartphone and send you alerts.
Some pharmacists may also be able to color-code your prescription bottles to help you take them on schedule. If your pillbox does not work with an app, try using the medication reminder flyer created by the team at Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. We suggest setting the alarm on your cellphone or watch as a reminder to take medication and keeping the pillbox in a visible area.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about concerns with the cost of your medication.
Prescription medication can be expensive, and the cost is estimated to be the main reason patients don’t take their medication as directed. If cost is a concern for you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. In addition, there may be options available to reduce costs, such as financial aid programs, discount opportunities, or opting for generic medications instead of brand-name drugs.
Hire Professional Help
Professionally trained and compassionate caregivers from Home Instead can remind you when to take your medication, transportation to pick up refills or work medication management into your personalized care plan. If you or a loved one needs help with medication management or in-home care, schedule a free no-obligation Care Consultation with Home Instead today.