With age comes many benefits like wisdom, gaining perspective from life experiences, and the ability to see the bigger picture – just to name a few. But, with aging can also come health complications that require increased medications, or dietary supplements and vitamins. With a changing list of medications, it is important to take proper measures to ensure safety.
Here are a few tips for senior medication safety:
Keep a medication list.
Keeping a medication list on you at all times will give health care professionals information about you they need in the event you are unable to communicate in an emergency. It’s also a good idea to share your medication list with a trusted love one. There are a lot of great internet applications that help keep track of medications but be sure to keep a printed list as well. In an emergency, if you cannot speak and your phone is locked, there won’t be any way to access that information.
Be mindful of potential side effects.
We’ve all heard the long list of possible side effects of medications on television and radio commercials. Your doctor and pharmacist will go over the possible side effects when prescribing a new medication, but it is important to pay attention to how you or your loved one is feeling once they have begun taking the medication. If you notice adverse effects right away, you are less likely to have compounding problems later. Be sure to contact your health care professionals to let them know of any changes you notice once you’ve begun a medication.
Keep to a regular schedule.
If your health care professional has prescribed a medication to you, it’s because they believe it’s medically necessary. It’s a great idea to develop a routine and take certain medications at the same time every day. If you are taking multiple medications, it’s a good idea to have a medication machine, pillbox, or checklist to help you or your loved one to keep track. Happier at Home has a medication administration machine
that has the ability dispense the medications at the appropriate time each day, and send alerts and reminders if a medication is late or missed, and when it’s time for a refill.
Use the same pharmacy consistently.
Using the same pharmacy is the easiest way to ensure the pharmacist can watch for possible drug interactions that could give you or your loved one a negative side effect or adverse reaction.
Be sure you or your loved one are actively participating in the development of a health care plan - whether it’s for recovery or maintenance. If you have questions about why you are taking a medication, when you should take it or how you should store it, be sure to ask!
Tell your health care team about your current diagnosis and medications.
Be sure to share your current list of prescribed medications to your healthcare team. Are you or your loved taking herbal supplements or vitamins that your doctor didn’t prescribe? Let your doctor and pharmacist know, so they can advise you in the event there could be harmful side effects. Also, if you’ve taken a medication in the past that has had adverse side effects be sure to communicate that as well.
Following these tips will help make you a full participant in you or your loved one’s health care action plan.