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Medication Management for Seniors: Tips for Safety and Adherence

senior-man-looking-at-medications

Medication management for seniors is critical, with more than 87% taking more than one prescription drug.

A current study of over 2,000 seniors reveals that an astonishing 87% take one or more prescription drug, and a staggering 36% are taking five or more – in addition to 38% using over-the-counter meds on a routine basis. Monitoring medications in our older years can be quite difficult, and there are certain risks and dangers which can emerge during the process.

As specialists in aging care, Relevar Home Care’s caregiving team assists cherished older adults in making sure meds are taken when and how they’re prescribed. It’s also vitally important to be familiar with common issues seniors encounter with their prescriptions, and just how to overcome them. As an example:

Often times, symptoms continue in spite of taking medications properly. Busy physicians may prescribe what is known as a “starter dose” of a medication, which requires follow-up to determine if adjustment is needed; but often, that follow-up never occurs. Remember to schedule a subsequent visit with the physician when a new medication is prescribed, and make certain the older adult keeps that appointment.

Adverse reactions can be worse than the condition being treated. Of specific issue are medications that impact a senior’s balance and thinking – increasing the chance of a fall or some other dangerous consequence. Medications to be particularly cautious about include anticholinergics, sedatives/tranquilizers, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and opiates. Speak with the doctor if any of these medications are prescribed for an older family member and cautiously weigh the possible risks against benefits.

Staying compliant with medication adherence can be a challenge. Remembering that one particular med needs to be taken with food, while another on an empty stomach, another with a full glass of water, one before breakfast and two at bedtime, can make it significantly difficult to take prescriptions precisely when and how they’re prescribed. Enlist the services of a home care agency, such as Relevar Home Care, for medication reminders.

Cost may be prohibitive. When cost for a particular prescription is high, older adults can be tempted to cut their dosage amounts to conserve cost – a highly risky behavior. Older adults can instead talk with their doctors about generic versions of medications, or any other methods to keep cost at a minimum.

Know about potential interactions with other meds. Bring the full list of all the medications a senior loved one is taking to a physician or pharmacist with training in polypharmacy, who can ensure that the drugs can safely be taken in tandem with each other. Remember to include any over-the-counter medications taken routinely as well. For a fast online assessment, this drug interaction checker lets you enter all of a senior’s medications and view any concerns that can then be shared with his or her health care provider.

Contact Relevar Home Care, the experts in elder care in Wayne County, MI and the surrounding areas, at 1-888-493-3513 for lots more tips on medication management for seniors, as well as professional hands-on help with medication reminders, transportation to doctors’ appointments, and much more to assist those you love in remaining healthy and safe.