10 Easy Medication Management Tips for Seniors
We often take multiple medications, including vitamins and other supplements, to treat different symptoms as we age, increasing the chances of mix-ups. This is the reason why medication management is crucial to avoid potential health hazards in older adults. The experts in our assisted living facility have put together this guide to managing your medicines in senior years, so you know how to accomplish this.
How Much Medicine Do Seniors Take?
According to research, about 80% of seniors take at least two prescription drugs regularly. Moreover, many older adults take at least 4-5 prescription drugs. The numbers increase with the inclusion of over-the-counter medicines and supplements. Taking steps can help you get more organized and practice better medication management.
Reasons for Medicine Mismanagement
Here are a few factors that increase the risk of mismanaging medication, contributing to health issues in your senior years:
- Suffering from multiple chronic diseases
- Having cognitive conditions, including memory problems
- Experiencing mental health conditions
- Consulting multiple doctors
- Not having a primary care healthcare professional and a doctor to coordinate care
- Weakness and frailty
Reasons for Health Problems Related to Medication Mismanagement
- Drug Interactions
There are specific medicines that you should not take together or with certain drinks or foods. For example, it is not recommended to take some medications with citrus fruits because doing so may alter their effects.
- Fractures and Falls
The experts in assisted living facilities believe that taking multiple medications may increase the risk of falls and raise the chance of hip fractures.
- Health Conditions
If you consult multiple doctors or have different health conditions, you may end up with more medications than you need and inadequate care.
- Discontinuation of Treatment
You may unintentionally forget to follow your doctor’s instructions or choose to skip doses or not fill prescriptions if you feel slightly better or for financial reasons.
10 Tips to Manage Your Medicines
- Review Your Medications with the Doctor
If you take multiple medicines, it helps to note their names, dosages, how frequently you need to take them, and what each one is for. Be sure to include vitamins, over-the-counter drugs, and other supplements. You could also write down the doctor’s name who prescribed each medication.
- Read the Labels Carefully
If you are starting a new medicine, ask the doctor when and how to take it and whether you should take it with or without food. It is wise to carefully read the label of the drugs to understand their dosages.
- Understand the Possible Side Effects
Ask your doctor about any side effects of any new medicine before you start taking it. Take note of any differences since taking the new drug and see if it affects your hunger and food habits, sleep patterns, weight, or balance. Consult your doctor if you experience any of them.
- Learn About Drug Reactions
It is beneficial to ask your doctor about drug interactions because supplements and over-the-counter drugs may interact with some medicines you take. Learning about this can help you pinpoint any reactions you may experience and get professional help immediately to avoid any serious effects.
- Take Age-Appropriate Dosage
Since the way your body processes different medicines changes with age, you may be more or less sensitive to specific drugs. It helps to double-check with your doctor to make sure the dosage is right for your age and ensure the medicine has the right effect on you.
- Be Aware of Medications that are Unsafe for Seniors
Some medicines have a higher risk of side effects, while others may be less effective. Moreover, there are a few drugs that you should use with caution in your senior years. Remember to ask your doctor if any of your medications are listed on the caution listing.
- Learn About the Dangers of Self-Prescribing
Although you may want to increase the frequency or dosage of a specific medicine to treat a symptom faster and get quick relief, doing so may increase the chances of overmedication. Also, it may cause drug interactions, leading to serious health issues. This is why it is beneficial to consult your doctor and ask for advice if a drug is not providing the expected relief. They will assess your condition and prescribe an alternative accordingly.
- Monitor for Medication Compliance
Medications work best if you take them regularly, as instructed by the doctor. If you are forgetful or have trouble tracking your medicines, it is best to set a reminder because taking them incorrectly can be harmful.
- Reduce the Number of Doctors You Consult
Consulting one physician can help make it easier for you and them to establish good communication. They can review your medications and ensure you take an appropriate dose, reducing the chances of adverse drug interactions.
- Organize Your Medications
If you need additional help to organize your medicines, there are many devices and tools you can use to keep track of them. Tech-enabled medicine dispensers or pillboxes, along with reminder apps, may be helpful. You can consider such options based on your need and convenience.
Get the Best Care at Our Assisted Living Facility in Rhode Island
At The Holiday Retirement, we offer excellent assisted living retirement homes with essential amenities. We have a qualified team, including health care professionals and friendly staff, to take care of your needs. We will work to understand your concerns and ensure you are happy and comfortable. Our healthcare specialists will keep track of your condition and make sure you have a proper prescription. Our staff will help you manage your medicines, ensuring you take them on time and as instructed.
If you are having trouble with everyday chores and are looking to move into an assisted living facility, be sure to give us a call at 1-401-762-4226. You may also book a tour of our assisted living community in Rhode Island to know if it meets your needs.