At Nightingale Homecare, the top Surprise home care agency, we often hear from seniors and their families about the challenges they’re facing with senior medications. As people age, it’s not uncommon for their doctors to prescribe a complicated list of senior medications to manage and prevent health conditions. While these medications may be helpful, remembering which medications to take every day can be overwhelming. In addition to making medication schedules difficult to remember, polypharmacy (taking multiple medications to manage health conditions) presents the potential for drug interactions that can pose health threats to aging adults.
It’s vital for seniors and caregivers to understand their medications, what each is for, and what side effects could present. The following are important questions to ask your or your loved one’s physician, pharmacist and/or your health care team:
- What is the name, generic name, spelling and dose of the medication?
- Which medical diagnosis is the medication for?
- How often and when should I take the medication?
- What are the goals of the medication?
- Is there a non-drug treatment?
- What changes should I expect with the medication?
- How should I take the medication, what should I take it with, or avoid taking it with?
- What are the side effects of the medication?
- Do I have co-existing disorders that may contribute to side effects?
- Does the medication interact with other prescription or non-prescription medications that I take?
- Is it safe to drink alcohol with the medication?
- If I’m feeling better, should I decrease or stop the medication?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- How should the medication be stored?
- Should I refill the medication? How many times?
Safety and Medication
It will be important for seniors and their caregivers to keep a current and complete list of all medications including prescriptions, over-the-counter, vitamins and herbal supplements. It is especially important to bring this list to all of the senior’s medical appointments. As herbal medications and supplements vary widely in ingredients, bring the bottles with you to your physician or pharmacy so it can be determined if there is a risk for interaction with other medications you are taking.
Keep in mind that drug names may look or sound alike. Read each label carefully and clarify with the physician or pharmacist.
It will be important to keep a schedule and diary of when medications are taken, and list any side effects experienced, and then share that information with the physician.
Pay particular attention to these side effects, which can increase fall risk:
- Coordination loss or other balance issues
One excellent way to keep senior medications in order is to use a pill box and a timer as a reminder for the senior to take each medicine.
There’s a lot to remember and to keep organized when it comes to managing senior medications, but you don’t have to do it all alone! The home care professionals at the top Surprise home care agency, Nightingale Homecare, are on hand to help in a variety of ways. Our registered nurses can help set up a pill box and reminder system, and ensure that all medications are taken exactly as prescribed. We can also work with the senior’s medical team to get answers to any questions related to medications, to help get any concerns addressed, and even pick up prescription refills for you! Contact us any time to learn more at (602) 504-1555.