As we grow older, health conditions can arise that can lead to an uptick in the number of medications we need to manage them. With the number of prescriptions growing, it can be challenging to keep track of it all. This could lead to missed doses, mixing up medications, or other serious issues.
Being proactive and practicing medication safety is essential to managing the health of your parent or older loved one. Oaks Senior Living understands the importance of this and has provided tips to ensure the senior in your life is taking his or her medications properly.
Create and Update Medications List
As the number of medications increases, it is easy to lose track of which medication should be taken and when. In order to help keep track of it all, creating a list or chart is essential. This way, you can help your parent or loved one avoid questioning whether or not a specific medication has already been taken and prevent complications that can occur with an extra or missed dosage.
Document each of the following for every prescription and over-the-counter medication, vitamin, or supplement your loved one takes:
- The name of the medication
- The correct dosage
- How often it should be taken
- The times each item needs to be taken
- The purpose of each medication
You will find that it is much easier to not only keep track of what he or she takes but creating and updating a list will help instill confidence that can assist your loved one in taking control of his or her own healthcare.
Because you have a detailed list of everything that your older loved one needs to take on a daily basis, this step should be easy. Save time and hassle throughout the week by pre-sorting all the medications your loved one should take. By doing this, your parent or loved one will not have to sift through bottles of pills and vitamins multiple times a day, risking taking the wrong medication. Pick a day once a week and divide every medication into dosages. If pills need to be split, this would be the time to do it, as well.
Choosing the right pill organizer for your loved one’s specific needs is crucial. Select one that has the correct number of dosage times each day and can hold everything in one container.
Know How to Store Medications
Obviously, not all medications, vitamins, and supplements have the same properties. Hence why each one is used to treat different conditions; Because of this, not all medicines can be stored the same way.
“In general, medication should be stored in a cool and dry place (DailyCaring).” Some medications, however, need to be kept in the refrigerator. Whatever the climate the medication needs to be stored in, it needs to be kept out of reach of children and pets.
Be sure to read the label on the bottle, and check with your loved one’s pharmacist to ensure proper storage. In addition, practicing proper medication safety includes disposing of any medication that is expired, as these items may now be ineffective or [in some cases] toxic to consume.
Take Medications as Prescribed
“There are often important reasons to take a medication at a specific dose and time (John Muir Health).”
Your loved one’s doctor is trained to prescribe medications to treat a condition or conditions. He or she takes into consideration all the other vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that your parent or loved one takes when prescribing a new medicine. Your loved one’s doctor must know every medication that he or she is currently taking to avoid drug interactions and other complications.
It is important that your parent or loved one takes all medications as directed by their doctor; this is a vital step in practicing medication safety.
Be Aware of Side Effects or Drug Interactions
Read the labels and consult your loved one’s physician about potential adverse drug interactions. If he or she is taking multiple medications, it is important to understand how one can affect others. One prescription may, when taken with another specific medication, cause it to become harmful.
Additionally, you should ask their pharmacist about possible side effects. For example, if dizziness is not a potential side effect of a medication your parent is taking, yet he or she is experiencing dizziness, it could be the symptom of another issue.
Medication safety plays a significant role in healthcare. Oaks Senior Living knows the importance of this, and it is why “the training and delivery of medications and life safety elements of our communities [throughout Georgia and the Metro Atlanta area] are of the highest standards (Oaks Senior Living).”
Our Oaks Senior Living staff is chosen for their desire to work with seniors, and we proudly offer a “Person-Centered Lifestyle.” If you would like to learn more about our assisted living care and services, we encourage you to find a community near you and contact us. Or, visit our Facebook page to view photos, stories, events, and more, from our communities!