For many senior citizens, the ability to manage a complicated medication regime is the key to living independently in their own homes. Physical and cognitive limitations, however, can make it challenging to keep track of medications and to use them safely. As a result, at Home Care Assistance of Columbus, we encourage adult children of elderly parents to review medication directions and schedules to ensure that both prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are properly managed.
- Consult Health Care Professionals
Ensuring that a senior’s primary physician or senior health care professional is aware of all of the medicines that a patient takes is critical. A consultation with the health care team should include a review of all prescriptions, OTC medicines and vitamins, as well as dietary and herbal supplements. Possible side effects should be thoroughly discussed as well. Even if a senior is currently living independently without help from family members, it’s a good idea to take along a relative or friend to the consultation to make sure that all of the information is understood.
- Medication Calendars and Organizers Clinical studies have shown that seniors who use drug dispenser aids that are clearly marked with the days of the week are more likely to follow their prescribed medication schedule. Pill organizers are available in a broad range of designs and sizes, from high-tech devices that sound an alert when it’s time to take the medications to pill boxes labeled in two languages. Some devices can even be programmed to announce the date, time and dosage.
- Annual Medication Review Whether prescribed or purchased over the counter, all medications that a senior takes should be reviewed at least once each year to ensure that they have not passed their expiration dates. Patients or caregivers should follow the drug label’s disposal instructions and avoid flushing medications down the toilet unless directed by the instructions to do so. To help prevent drugs from harming the environment, many communities offer drug disposal programs.
Need help getting to the doctors or pharmacy? Perhaps you’re concerned about the health and safety of an elderly loved one? No matter what the reason, Home Care Assistance of Columbus is here to help. From medication reminders and help with household activities to transportation and assistance running errands, our skilled and compassionate caregivers are available 24/7. Click here to learn about our custom care schedules or call a Care Manager at 614-481-8888 and see how we can help you or an aging loved one enjoy better health today!