According to the Administration on Aging, 92 percent of adults older than age 65 have at least one chronic condition, and 77 percent have at least two. With the medications needed to control these issues, it’s important to make sure your elderly loved one is taking his or her prescriptions safely, especially if there is more than one. To help get you started, the trusted caregivers at Home Care Assistance have put together this medication safety checklist for seniors.
1. Ask his or her doctor for a medication review.
For this appointment, bring a list of all prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and supplements your family member takes. The physician will review the list to ensure that all the drugs are necessary, safe, and do not interact negatively with each other.
2. Keep track of new symptoms.
If your loved one has started a new medication, it’s important to be aware of side effects that may arise. Help him or her note anything troubling that begins after starting the medication, and check with the doctor to see if these symptoms are a result of the new prescription or the result of combining a new medication with one already in use.
3. Check the medication list against the Beer’s list.
This resource from the American Geriatric Society provides information about medications that may cause unwanted and dangerous side effects in older adults. While a medication on the Beer’s list isn’t necessarily inappropriate for your elderly family member to take, extra caution should be used.
4. Get organized.
Once you’ve ensured your loved one is taking the right medications at the right dosage and no harmful side effects are present, the next step is to make sure he or she knows how to take prescriptions as directed. A pill organizer can help seniors remember if they’ve taken their medications that day, and a simple alarm can also be an effective reminder. If alarms aren’t sufficient, you might consider hourly home care and a caregiver can provide regular medication reminders.
Aside from medication reminders, caregivers can also monitor your loved one for serious side effects and offer assistance if a medication affects his or her balance and mobility.
To learn more about hourly or live-in care for your senior loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (707) 843.4368. As a trusted provider of senior care in Sonoma, your loved one’s health and safety is our top priority. In addition to medication reminders and mobility assistance, our caregivers can also prepare healthy meals, assist with physical fitness, and provide transportation to appointments. Our Care Managers are available 24/7 to take your call. We look forward to speaking with you.