Safe Medication Management for Seniors: What You Need to Know Now
Healthy Aging | 05/25/21
What grade would you give yourself when it comes to managing your medications? If you’re like most seniors, some days you get an “A.” Other days when you’re distracted or tired, not so much.
With more than one-third of seniors currently on 5 or more medications, there’s really no room for error when it comes to properly taking pills. In a Life Plan Community like Monroe Village, residents have the option of getting assistance with taking their medications from our wonderful nursing staff. But it’s still a good idea for all older adults to get into the habit of good medication management.
We’ve collected 10 easy safe medication management tips that can save time and worry – and could even save your life.
10 Safe Medication Management Tips to Try:
- Enlist the help of others. A good support system of family and/or friends is important for good senior health and can be a great help as you work on medication management. With today’s med management apps and tools (see #10) they can even help you remotely with taking your pills properly and on time.
- Make a list, check it often. Make a complete list of your prescriptions and any other pills you take regularly. Be thorough. Every pill, even a vitamin, matters. Make copies of the list for every doctor you see and bring your own copy to every appointment.
- Lean on your physician. Resolve to discuss medication management for seniors with your doctor and review the list to look for potential dangers like drug interactions and make sure every doctor you see knows the drugs you take. Also ask about the “take with or without food” rules and “morning vs. evening” recommendations. Also ask about possible food interactions. Grapefruit juice affects cholesterol drugs for example. Milk affects antibiotics.
- Know the side effects. Understand the side effects and discuss ways to avoid and/or control them. Taking certain medications before bed can help avoid effects like dizziness for example.
- Don’t play doctor. You may be tempted to take more or less than recommended or skip doses if you don’t like how it makes you feel. Discuss self-prescribing and selective dosing with your primary care doctor, who can explain the effects of mismanaging your prescriptions
- Health changes matter. Be sure every doctor is aware of changes in health, since some changes can affect how your body responds to a drug. That includes illnesses, weight gain or loss or other conditions.
- Ask lots of questions. You have a right to ask questions about any medication given to you, even if it’s prescribed for a temporary condition like a sinus infection. If possible, seniors should have an advocate (another pair of ears) go to appointments with them.
- One pharmacy for all. Today’s pharmacies use computer records that can alert your pharmacist to potential drug interactions anytime a new drug is prescribed for you. You can also look to the pharmacy that regularly fills your prescriptions for answers to any medication questions you might have.
- Get organized. Many of the pill dispensers available today are specially designed to assist with medication management for seniors. They can help you organize morning, midday and evening pills, and some even come with reminder alarms. There are also phone apps that can be set to remind you it’s time for a pill.
For the ultimate in organization, explore electronic pill dispensers. The remote feature allows a family member to control the box and release your pills when they need to be taken. Prepackaged pill packs are another excellent solution. They’re available from many sources and are typically covered by Medicare plans.
The team at Monroe Village is here to help.
Among the wonderful benefits of living at Monroe Village is the availability of
onsite senior care services with priority access, as well as our Resident Health Center staffed with registered nurses. If you have concerns about safe medication management for yourself or a senior loved one, we’re here to help with advice and guidance. To learn more about the lifestyle offered at our Life Plan Community and senior care services, complete our request form and one of our sales counselors will get back to you shortly. We look forward to meeting you!