8 Tips on Managing Medications for the Busy Senior
Managing medications is always difficult, but it can be especially challenging as you age. Recent studies show two of out five older adults take five or more prescription medications.
Prescription drugs are an essential component to senior healthcare, but not all seniors follow the instructions correctly. According to government estimates, up to 58 percent of seniors make a mistake when taking their prescription and 26 percent of those mistakes could have fatal consequences.
It’s vitally important to develop a functional, effective system for managing medications. It will preserve your health and keep you safe.
Here are eight tips to help:
- Maintain an Active File
You know those pamphlets you receive from the pharmacy every time you pick up your medicine? They’re not fun to read, but you must review the directions, the potential side effects and the warnings about other drug interactions. After you’ve scanned the information, place the papers in a file.
You should also create a full list of the names of all medications you currently take, including vitamins and herbal supplements. Attach this list to the front of the file and bring it with you to every doctor appointment.
- Stay with One Pharmacy
It’s easier for pharmacists to caution you against specific drug interactions when they know all of the medications you take. Try to collect your prescriptions at one pharmacy to add this extra level of protection and make sure you’re receiving the proper dosage based on your full medication history.
- Schedule Doses in Advance
Take the time to separate your medications into pill boxes for the entire week. If you are supposed to take certain medications in the morning and some at night, use two different pill boxes that are color-coded according to the time of day.
- Stick to a Daily Routine
Taking your medications should be a part of your daily routine. Just like you brush your teeth right after waking, incorporate your prescriptions into your day by taking them right before your nightly television show, or right after you wash the breakfast dishes.
- Use a Checklist
Put a checklist on your refrigerator and create a copy for your purse or wallet. The checklist should include the names of all of your medications, what time of day you’re supposed to take it and any specific instructions for each pill. If you forget the details, you won’t have to go look up the information in your medication file – you can just check your list.
- Set Alarms
Use your watch, cell phone or alarm clock to help remind you when it’s time to take your prescriptions. You could also purchase a medical alert device to help with reminders.
- Monitor Your Reactions
When you’re adding a new medication to your daily regimen, check in with your doctor about how you’re feeling. Take note if you feel extra drowsy, lose your appetite or notice any other unusual symptoms.
- Call for Refills Early
Don’t wait until your prescription runs out to head to the pharmacy. If they’re out of the drug too, you may have to wait a few days for a refill. Avoid this risk by calling a few days ahead of time so you have uninterrupted prescription coverage.
Managing your medications can be tricky. Figuring out how you’ll pay for them can be difficult too! My Senior Health Plan can help. Call us today if your current prescription drug coverage isn’t adding up. We will help you find the right, affordable fit.