The average American aged 65-and-over takes four different prescription medications plus two over the counter (OTC) drugs or vitamins daily. That’s a lot of pills to manage, especially for a senior who’s forgetful or has cognitive impairment. As a result, poor medication management has become a serious problem within the elderly population.
If you are currently caring for an aging in place loved one, you can help ensure that they enjoy a higher quality of life by using these medication management tips from healthcare professionals.
Medication-Related Issues Seniors Face
According to experts on aging, these are some of the daily medication challenges that seniors face:
- The average senior has one or more expired prescription bottles in their home.
- Over half of all seniors make some type of mistake when taking their meds, and roughly 25% of those errors result in potentially serious consequences.
- One-in-four nursing home admissions occur because seniors don’t take their meds as prescribed, or they’ve mixed medications improperly.
- Accidental medication overdoses are on the rise within the elderly population, including overdoses that result in hospitalizations and fatalities.
- Millions of elderly Americans simply stop taking one or more of their meds due to forgetfulness, financial difficulties or medication mismanagement.
If you’re currently looking after an elderly loved one, these facts must be concerning. Now it’s time to look at ways to keep your senior healthier and more medication compliant.
Use This Medication Management Strategy
Planning and implementing a sound overall medication management strategy means that you will need to focus on these specific areas:
Inventory and Expiration Dates
Politely ask your loved one to collect all their medications, including OTC products and vitamins. Don’t’ forget to check their medicine cabinet, fridge, purse and coat pockets. Then, check the labels and toss any meds that have expired. Read the labels for any potential drug interactions, side effects, storage requirements and dosage instructions. If you have any questions about the medications your senior has in their possession, contact their doctor or pharmacist. Another good online resource is the Prescriber’s Digital Reference.
In order to retain their potency, most medications have specific storage requirements that are listed on the bottle’s label. Those instructions may include exposure to light, heat, humidity or other conditions, so make sure they are being stored in accordance with those instructions. Proper medication storage also means not mixing different drugs together, like in a pillbox, or leaving them out where curious eyes will see them.
After reading the dosage instructions on all the medicine and vitamin bottles, create a weekly medication reminder spreadsheet that you can place in a convenient spot within the home. That way, once they’ve taken a specific medication it can be checked off the list to help prevent confusion while also increasing compliance. Make sure to update your medication reminder list whenever any of the medications are discontinued or new ones prescribed.
Create a system for refilling your loved one’s prescriptions before they run out, and make arrangements with the pharmacy for pick up or delivery. Closely monitor pill numbers every week to make sure the medications are being taken in accordance with doctor’s instructions. Online pharmacy delivery services like PillPack are also a great way to ensure timely medication refills. Once enrolled in PillPack, they can ship individually packaged meds directly to the home, alert you about potential drug interactions, and even bill insurance!
We Provide In-Home Medication Management for Seniors
Managing an aging in place senior’s medications can be stressful when you’re busy or live far away. When you need a hand, contact First In Care. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency, our highly trained caregivers can assist your loved one with their medication management needs so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. In addition to medication reminders, our carefully screened aides can also deliver in-home services like light housework, personal hygiene, meals, transportation and companionship.
And, all our family trusted companion and home health amenities can be individually tailored into an affordable program that will restore your peace-of-mind! To learn more about First In Care today, or to schedule a FREE, in-home assessment for a senior in Manatee County, FL, now, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com.