“Take 2 hours after eating. Avoid exposure to sunlight while taking this medication.”
“Take on an empty stomach. Do not take with aspirin.”
“Take twice per day with food and a full glass of water. May cause excessive drowsiness.”
Picture attempting to properly manage multiple medications, from various physicians, taken at numerous times daily, with assorted as well as perhaps even contradictory guidelines. Welcome to the daily routine a number of aging parents, 36% of whom take up to 5 or more prescription drugs at the same time.
Medicine mismanagement for older adults is typical, and it can lead to dire outcomes, making it essential to establish a plan to make sure aging parents remain safe and compliant with doctors’ prescribed medication regimens. These guidelines, from the Kansas City senior care team at Enhanced Home Care, are a great place to start:
- Store medicines in one safe, central location. Collect all medications a senior loved one takes on a day-to-day basis, both over-the-counter and doctor-prescribed, and put together in a sturdy container. Usually, the bathroom medicine cabinet is not an ideal storage spot, because the humidity and warmth could affect certain medications. If a particular medicine is required to be refrigerated, keep an empty bottle as a placeholder in the bin to act as a reminder. Store the bin in a cool, dry place, safely out of reach of young children and pets.
- Put together an inventory of all of the medications being taken. Make certain to include in your log each medication’s name, how frequently and what amounts are prescribed, the name of the prescribing doctor, plus the reason for taking the med. When finalized, share the list with the older adult’s primary care doctor or pharmacist for an evaluation to make sure that there are no undesirable contraindications. Set a note in your phone or calendar to analyze and edit the list on a regular basis.
- Make use of a pill organizer. Pill organizers are very helpful in ensuring meds are taken accurately. At the beginning of each week, sort and put correct doses of every medication into the appropriate day/time box; and then go back and double check to make certain everything is in order.
- Examine instructions. It is very important to be familiar with exactly how each medication must be taken (such as with or without food, whether or not the pill could be broken or crushed, etc.), and what potential side effects may be expected. If any instructions are unclear, talk with the prescribing physician right away for explanation. Compile these details into one succinct report and evaluate/update on a frequent schedule.
- Retain the services of a professional caregiver to help. Monitoring multiple meds effectively may very well be overwhelming, and the addition of a trained professional caregiver to give medication reminders can be very helpful.
At Enhanced Home Care, our care staff are always available to make sure meds are taken exactly when and how they are prescribed, together with an entire variety of tailored in-home care services to empower older adults to remain safe, independent, and flourishing. Email or call our Kansas City senior care experts at 913-327-0000 for a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more!