Tips to help elderly loved ones take medications safely

Tips to help elderly loved ones take medications safely

As an individual gets older and his or her health issues escalate, the number of medicines he or she consumes also increases proportionally. Although most of the medications consumed by the elderly are prescribed by physicians, still, there are millions of older adults who rely on non-prescription or over the counter (OTC) medicines. Keeping a track of all these medicines, discarding the expired stock and refilling the new ones on time can get very cumbersome in the old age.

Many a times, older patients either skip their medicines or take the same medicine twice because of poor recall ability related to their advancing age. Taking multiple medications for diverse health conditions and mismanaging them is a very serious concern among the geriatric population as it can lead to an addiction to prescription drugs, which can be life-threatening.

However, children, caregivers or family members can help older individuals track their medicines properly by doing some micromanaging. Here are some simple tips which can help in easing out this process:

1. Preparing and updating a weekly list: This is the most basic step where one can sit with an older individual and help him or her prepare a list of all the medicines that have to be taken during the following week, along with details about the dosage, frequency and the condition for which the medicine is indicated. However, this list must be updated very regularly to add new medicines and strike off the ones that are no longer prescribed/required.

2. Maintaining a pill organizer/box for easy access: Nowadays, almost all the pharmacies have pill-organizing trays that have compartments for storing pills for different days. It is always better to have one pouch or a box with all the medicines in one place, rather than storing medicines all over the place and then not being able to locate them when required or getting an access to medications that are no longer needed, paving the way for an addiction.

3. Communicating with the doctor and the pharmacist: One should always be in a close contact with the doctor who prescribes medication and the pharmacist who fills/refills the prescription. Every time a new medicine is added, one must be inquisitive enough to speak to the doctor about the medication’s role and understand the adverse reactions, if any. Regular communication with the pharmacist can help a person keep a track of the prescriptions that need to be refilled or discontinued.

4. Carrying out a regular inventory check: One should help the elderly identify the expired medications and discard/return them. Consuming an expired medicine can prove to be deleterious to the health, therefore, inventory check is crucial.

5. Maintaining a regular dialogue with the elderly: It is essential to keep enquiring the elderly about the number and type of medicines that he or she is taking. This is important when the child or a caregiver is not available and the elderly people have to take care of the medication schedule on their own.

Road to recovery

Managing prescription or OTC medications can get very challenging for the elderly and when used inappropriately, can cause devastating consequences, such as prescription drug addiction. Medication-related problems are rampant among the older people but these are preventable if the children/caregivers/family members offer their assistance in managing the medication schedule. A number of older adults in the U.S. are addicted to prescription medicines and tend to abuse them; however, a constant vigil by a loved one can prevent or manage this addiction problem effectively.

If you or your loved one is addicted to prescription drugs and is looking for treatment, you may contact the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline of California for information on various prescription drug rehabs in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-738-2770 or chat online for further information on the best prescription drug rehab in California. Our representatives will guide you through the best prescription drug rehab centers in California.