Many of us take multiple supplements and prescription medications. While remembering to take these can be difficult at any age, seniors often struggle the most. Skipping a dose or forgetting a vital prescription can lead to severe consequences.
In this blog, we'll discuss a few tips for medication management, including how to help your loved one adhere to the medication process.
Why Medication Management & Adherence Is Important
Forgetting to take medication can lead to life-threatening consequences, especially for those with a severe medical condition. Additionally, taking pills at the wrong time or alongside other drugs can be problematic. Furthermore, some people may take too much medication, which can also cause issues. These all show the importance of proper medication management and compliance.
If you or a loved one take any medications, you'll always want to stay on top of the process. Managing them all may seem stressful, but some tips can help.
7 Tips for Safe Medication Management
The following suggestions can help to better medication management, leading to greater safety and improved health outcomes:
Build and maintain a list
Making a list of medications should be your first step. Build this list with your loved one, so everyone is on the same page. It's also imperative to maintain and update this list when needed. It should include:
- Prescription medications
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications
- Herbal remedies
- Creams and ointments
Another tip is to write down the dose and frequency you take these medications. Keep this list on hand when visiting a medical provider.
Store all meds in one location
It's easy to forget about taking medication when all meds aren't in the same area. While you may take pills before breakfast, when you wake up and go to sleep, it's crucial to have a centralized location for all medications. If not, this can cause you to miss a dose, misplace a pill bottle, or even lose the drug altogether.
Ensure medications are stored properly
Proper medication storage is vital. Improper storage could damage medication, make it unusable, and even lower its efficacy. Typically, medications should always be stored in a cool, dark place, but some medications require refrigeration. You should also check the expiration dates of all meds and ensure they're still safe.
Utilize a pill organizer and plan ahead
Staying organized with medications is one of the most significant problems seniors and their loved ones face. You'll want to build a system, keep all meds in one area, and invest in a pill organizer. These handy devices have separate sections and pill compartments for different days of the week and even times of the day. Many people stay organized by filling up these pill organizers on a particular day every week.
Look out for drug interactions
Taking the wrong medications together can lead to drug interactions, which can be a serious problem. You should always talk to your doctor about every medication, supplement, and vitamin you're taking to avoid drug interactions. It's also an excellent plan to do research on your own and tell your doctor ASAP if you learn about possible drug interactions.
Pay attention to side effects
Another important consideration is understanding what side effects you may experience from your medications. You may want to write down notes about when these side effects kick in and what they feel like. These notes can help determine which medication may be causing these effects.
Review all medications with a doctor
You should always consult with your doctor before taking a medication or supplement, whether prescription or over-the-counter. Bring a list of your meds to confirm with your doctor during each appointment. If you have any side effects or interactions, you should also discuss these. They may encourage you to stop taking a medication or try a different dose. Staying organized and keeping track of how you feel will result in the best health outcomes.
How To Help With Adherence
Adhering to a complicated medication schedule can be a challenge for people at any age. That said, it's important to find ways to boost compliance. One way to combat this problem is to reduce the number of medications you take. Having a long list of drugs can make things very confusing, and some pills may be excessive or not needed at all.
Secondly, it's essential to find a specific system that works for you and use technology if needed. It's easy to set up an alarm or notification system that reminds you to take medications at specific times throughout the day.
After developing the right system and getting into a healthy routine, medication management and adherence will become a much more manageable mountain to climb.