Keeping track of medications can become very complicated for seniors as they begin to have memory challenges and the number of medications increases. There are serious implications for not taking medications exactly as prescribed and that has led to hospital admissions and nursing home admissions that could have been avoided. Studies indicate 5 – 10% of hospital admissions are due to drug related problems and 50% of those could have been avoided.
There are simple strategies you can follow to help prevent a crisis. There are also websites you can use to gather more detailed information.
- Make a list of all medications. Include dosage amount, the time to take, prescribing doctor, side effects. Print the list and put a copy on the refrigerator, in the storage container for the medications and in a purse or bag used when visiting doctors.
- Organize the medications in packages or use daily dose containers or have the pharmacy pre-pack the medications by time.
- Store the medications safely according to instructions. Refrigerate or keep cool.
- Be cognizant of all food and drink restrictions or requirements.
- Don’t stop taking the medication until the doctor tells you to.
- Consider using only one pharmacist to keep easier track of the medications and renewals.
- Use alarm reminders to take medications on schedule.
Helpful websites include:
Many seniors that move into Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care communities take advantage of the Medication Management services offered to ensure proper usage. Not only can this help avoid a crisis, it can improve overall health of the senior as they are being treated accurately and gaining the benefits of the medications the doctors were prescribing for.