Every year, one of every three seniors in the U.S. has an unwanted drug reaction, according to the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging. Many of these incidents can be traced to overdosing, skipping doses, or improperly combining medications.
As a caregiver, you know that managing your loved one’s prescriptions will help relieve stress and reduce the risk of medication errors that can cause serious health issues. But between memorizing drug interactions, juggling appointments, and caring for your loved one full time, how can you keep her medications in order? The following tips (and a medication dispenser) can help.
Medication Management Best Practices
In order to best organize your loved one’s prescriptions, try the following:
- Learn as much about any new medication as possible. Ask your loved one’s doctor about interactions with other drugs or foods. Discuss possible side effects, and what to do if your senior skips a dose or takes too many.
- Build a relationship with your neighborhood pharmacist. If you use the same pharmacy for every medication, the pharmacist can help spot possible interactions or even prescription errors. At the same time, you’ll feel more comfortable asking questions of the pharmacist or pharmacy staff when you see them on a regular basis.
- Make a medication list. Take a list of medications with you every time you take your loved one to the doctor or pick up a prescription. The list should include the dosage, and what the pills look like. To ensure you always receive the correct prescription, compare the medication against your description and ask the doctor or pharmacist if there are any inconsistencies.
- Find a way to organize the pills that works for both you and your loved one. Some people store a week’s worth of pills in a box with a separate compartment for each day. Others just need to set a schedule and stick to it. For seniors who need a bit of extra help remembering to take their medications, a dispensing service can be used to remind them to take their pills on their own.
Using a Medication Dispenser
If keeping track of your loved one’s medications is simply too much to handle on your own, automatic pill dispensers can help. These easy-to-use devices help your loved one by providing them with reminders to dispense their pre-sorted medicaions at pre-scheduled times. Since they only dispense a single dose at a time, it makes medication organization simple. And, with timed reminders, they make it difficult to skip a dose as well. The Philips Medication Dispensing Service offers an affordable way to help protect your senior from drug mismanagement.
Organizing your loved one’s medications can be complicated and stressful, but it is an important caregiver duty. By managing your loved one’s medication and utilizing a medication dispenser, you can help your senior retain her independence, and enjoy a longer, happier life.