Managing your Medications

Proper medication management is vitally important for seniors’ daily care, over-all health and well-being. According to the Federal Drug Administration, medication misuse often causes falls, moodiness, loss of appetite and weakness. We recommend the following steps, as does the National Institute of Aging, to help manage medication:

1. Make a list of all the medications you (or your senior loved one) currently take, including over-the-counter products and supplements. Review this list with their physician or pharmacist. Many seniors have multiple physicians — reviewing the list with one primary care doctor can help them analyze and monitor what is being prescribed, to avoid contradiction or duplication of drugs.

2. Keep this list in an accessible location (such as your purse or wallet) so that it’s readily available if you have to go to the emergency room, or are admitted to the hospital. Typically you will be asked by hospital or ER staff what medications you are taking. Having this list handy will reduce stress and complications, and can increase your safety while in the hospital. We suggest that you also give a copy of your medication list to a trusted family member or friend.

3. Check all the expiration dates on medicine bottles; contact your pharmacist (or doctor) if they’ve expired.

4. Call your doctor right away if you are having a problem with a medication. The doctor can review your condition and other medications, and may make adjustments to your prescriptions that will be appropriate and can work better for your need.

5. Take your medicine in the exact amount and at the time when your doctor prescribes. Some seniors, if they miss a day’s dose, will double-dose the next day. Others may take a medication in the evening that should be taken in the morning. Another common thing seniors may do is cut pills in half to extend the quantity, in an effort to save money. Consider using a medication planner or pill case to organize the medications in a daily format, or even chart them on paper or a calendar. More advanced medication dispensing equipment is also available. We offer a free, automated phone system that can call and remind you to take your medications.

Go to CareFamily.com for free medication reminder calls on a personalized schedule, or for a free medication review.