Does dealing with multiple prescriptions get confusing? If you or someone you love faces the daunting task of multiple medication management, don’t despair. Follow these 5 steps to manage your medications effectively and safely.
We will Discus in this Article:
- Get acquainted with your Pharmacist
- Save Information
- Notice Any Changes
- Expect Some Resistance
- Resolve the Issue That’s Causing the Resistance
- Enlist the Help of Others
- Caregivers Are Sometimes the Catalyst to Improve Senior Health
Be sure to listen carefully when a doctor or other health care professional instructs you about using your medications. Here’s why:
- Careful instructions reduce the chances of adverse reactions.
- You’ll know if you need to take with food or on an empty stomach.
- You’ll know if it will make you too drowsy to drive or do other things.
- You’ll know if it will keep you up at night.
- You’ll be prepared for possible side effects.
If anything is not clear, stop and obtain clarifying instructions before you proceed. Do not leave the physician’s office or pharmacy until you understand. It’s their job to help you and they’re glad to do it. Get any questions answered while you’re physically present with them.
Get acquainted with your Pharmacist
Be sure they get to know you as well. They will be the primary health care professional assisting you with your medication management practices.
Your pharmacist is your primary resource for:
- Getting up-to-date information regarding dosages
- Getting information about storing medications
- Getting advice on traveling with your medications
- Getting advice on how best to take your medications
Organization is the key to effective medication management. These tips can help:
- Set up your daily medications a week in advance to ensure they get taken on time and in the correct dosage.
- Use a medication dosage organizer labeled with each day of the week, and with AM and PM dosages.
- Use automated pill dispensers.
- Use apps for smartphones to remind you when it’s time to take your medication.
Don’t rely on counting the remaining pills in the bottle as a way to determine whether you took your daily dosage. It’s important to find a reliable way to take the right dosage at the right time.
A complete record of your medications will provide medical professionals with critical information that is necessary to giving you the care you require.
Understanding exactly what medications you are taking will help them assess your condition and determine appropriate treatment or medication therapies and avoid adverse drug reactions. Here are some ways to help:
- Keep a complete record of your medications, their dosages, and when they are taken.
- Update this record as it changes.
- Complete and up-to-date records are vital to effective medication management.
- Take this record with you to every doctor visit, trip to the pharmacy, and in any emergency situation.
Notice Any Changes
Medications may change with time or when obtaining refills. Sometimes the appearance of a pill may change but its components remain the same. However, errors can occur when prescriptions are being filled.
Here are some things to look for:
- Keep a detailed list of every prescription’s visual characteristics, such as color, shape, imprints, and approximate size.
- If you notice any changes, contact your pharmacist at once, before taking the medication.
How to Encourage Medication Compliance with Resistant Seniors
Seniors may resist taking medications for different reasons. As health begins to deteriorate, seniors may need to take several different medications to treat various illnesses, improve their health, and help them feel better.
While they may realize that taking medications is helpful to them, some of the reasons they may resist taking them include:
- Too many pills and dosages confuse them.
- They want to prevent uncomfortable side effects.
- It’s too much bother.
- They can’t remember to take any of them.
- They can’t remember all the directions.
- It’s too hard to open the bottles.
- They don’t think they need them.
While their reasons may not seem reasonable, it’s important to acknowledge their difficulty in taking medications.
There are a few steps that caregivers can take to encourage seniors to form good medication habits.
Expect Some Resistance
Most of us are somewhat resistant to someone telling us what we have to do. Seniors are no different. [i]
Seniors may be increasingly obstinate when sons or daughters serve as their caregivers. This may be because some seniors have trouble differentiating between their adult child’s role as their caregiver and being a parent to them.
Knowing that a senior dislikes taking medication can help prepare adult children and other caregivers to form a plan to gain their compliance. Here are some tips to help:
- Expect some groaning and complaining as normal.
- Try to find a specific reason for medication refusal.
- Develop a plan to respond to them appropriately prior to the time to administer medication.
Resolve the Issue That’s Causing the Resistance
Caregivers that listen well will quickly learn what causes a senior to dislike taking medications.
Consider whether the real issue stems from one of the following issues:
- The medication tastes badly.
- Side effects make them uncomfortable.
- They’re suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Try to find a way make medication taste better such as crushing the pills or dissolving them in liquid.
Ask the doctor if there is any way to substitute another medication that doesn’t produce side effects.
Find ways to help them remember to take medications properly such as pill organizers or automatic dispensers.
Know that you don’t have provide caregiving services all on your own. Find others in the community that can help.
Enlist the Help of Others
For whatever reason, some seniors respond better to taking medications when getting help from a trusted unrelated person better than they respond to an adult child. Don’t take it personally. The important thing is getting them to take the medications properly.
Here’s a list of people who may be able to help your senior with medication compliance:
- A trusted friend
- A visiting nurse
- An in-home caregiver
- An automated phone reminder
Caregivers Are Sometimes the Catalyst to Improved Senior Health
When seniors don’t feel like taking their medications, it can be the start of a downward spiral of their health. Taking the right medications in the right dosages for the right conditions can help them feel considerably better.
Caregivers can often be the catalyst that helps them overcome the obstacles that cause seniors to resist taking medications.
Do you think that an in-home elderly care specialist might be right for you? Call or contact Caring People Inc. to schedule a free in-home consultation. Qualified homecare specialists will meet with you, assess your unique situation, and match your needs to the right services.