Seniors tend to have more medical conditions than any other age group, and as a result, take more prescription medications. A study of nearly 14,000 people found that 25 percent of those between 65 and 69 take at least five prescription drugs, and that number increases to 46 percent among those aged 70 to 79. The more medications you take, the harder it is to manage.
Medical management is an area where minor errors can have catastrophic consequences. There can be problems from overdosing, underdosing, not taking medicines at the right time, or forgetting to take them altogether. Nevertheless, not all problems are caused by taking medications incorrectly.
The effects of certain drugs on seniors can be disproportionate. Sometimes, a combination of medicines – often prescribed by different doctors for different conditions – can have adverse side effects. To manage your medications effectively, you need to develop procedures to help you take them consistently each day.
Here are some tips on managing multiple prescription medicines safely.
Bring a list of your prescription medicines with you to each doctor’s appointment so that they can discuss them with you. Ensure a loved one has a copy of the list in case of an emergency, and update it as needed.
If you see multiple doctors, use one pharmacy. As well as simplifying your life, it allows your pharmacist to check for harmful interactions between medications.
Look for a pillbox that suits your needs. They come in different sizes to accommodate different dosage needs. You can purchase pill dispensers that flashlight or sound an alarm when it’s time to take a dose if you or a loved one forgets to take your medications.
Consider a prescription drug delivery service. For example, PillPack is an online pharmacy that sorts your medications by date and time, enclosing each dose in a small plastic packet. In this way, you pull out the next packet and take the pills at the time printed on the label.
Get a “brown-bag” review at your annual physical. Your doctor will be able to review all your prescriptions and supplements and will be able to answer any questions you may have about them.
If you forget to take your medication at the proper times, there are some things you can do to help you remember. Besides getting a pill organizer with an alarm, you can set multiple alarms using your smartphone or watch throughout the day. Or, you can use sticky notes throughout your home to remind you. You can place one near your coffee maker as a reminder to take your morning medicines and another by your nightstand as a reminder to take your evening medications.
There are many reasons why people don’t take their medication correctly and if you have any other ideas that could be helpful leave a comment below!
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