Studies have shown that 87% of seniors take at least one prescription drug, over 36% take 5 or more different drugs, and 38% use over-the-counter medications. These numbers highlight the importance for seniors to be diligent about medication management to ensure they are staying healthy.
When it comes to medication management, things can quickly become overwhelming. Many drugs have to be taken with food, some drugs need to be taken at night instead of in the morning and other medications can’t be mixed with certain foods.
Putting a simplified system in place to manage all medications can ease the stress of medication management and ensure all prescriptions are taken without missing doses or taking more than is prescribed.
10 Safe Medication Management Tips for Seniors
- Review Medications with a Physician – One of the most important things before starting a medication regimen is to review all active prescriptions with a primary care doctor. Get everything organized with a doctor and take notes as needed.
- Keep All Medications Together – The first step in properly managing medication is dedicating a specific location where all prescriptions are kept. It’s easy to spread them out in the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, but it’s important to keep them all in one central location for easy access and consistency.
- Read All OTC Medications – While it’s usually acceptable to use over the counter medications in combination with prescriptions, it’s something that should be discussed with a doctor. Some OTC medications can cause negative drug reactions that should be avoided.
- Maintain an Up-To-Date Medication List – To prevent negative drug interactions or forgetting to take prescribed medications at the right times, it is important to keep an updated record.
- Pre-Sort Medications – One of the most important elements of medication management is pre-sorting all prescribed medications. There are many different types of organizers that help seniors to sort medication by day, time or dosage. This makes it easy to remember when to take medications as well as easily check to see if medication was accidentally skipped.
- Invest in a Pill Cutter – Oftentimes, pills need to be cut in half before consuming. Using a knife or other household utensil can be messy and sometimes cause uneven dosing. A pill cutter simplifies the process and keeps the specific dosage accurate.
- Explore Side Effects – Another important aspect of medication management is understanding the potential side effects and drug interactions for each medication. This makes it easier to keep track of any changing health conditions or discomfort. A doctor can use this information to adjust medications as needed.
- Plan for Refills – It’s never a good idea to wait until medication is completely gone to request a refill. Missing doses of important medication is never a good thing and sometimes pharmacies are slower to fill medications than might be expected.
- Minimize the Pharmacies Used – Sometimes it’s best to shop around at pharmacies for the best price, but if it’s a medication that will be taken long-term it’s best to have them all at one specific pharmacy.
- Ask for Help – Medication management is complicated. If it becomes overwhelming or doses are becoming missed, seniors should always feel empowered to ask loved ones for help in making sure no medications are missed.
Medication management doesn’t have to be a burden. With a little organization and help from a primary care physician, it can be easy to stay healthy and independent.
Find the Right Level of Care at Heritage Senior Living
All aging adults are at different stages of life. At Heritage Senior Living we offer diverse living options to accommodate independence and offer support where it’s needed. It is our goal to help residents at our senior living community find the exact level of care they need to thrive and live life to the fullest. We encourage you to learn more about our home-like, low-maintenance living options. Contact us today to learn more about our senior living options and to schedule a tour.