Most people who are over age 50 take at least one prescription medication per day, and the number of daily meds a person takes generally rises as he or she gets older. When multiple medications are taken at different scheduled times throughout the day, it is easy for seniors to lose track of their prescriptions, and they run the risk of missing pills or taking too many. In addition, multiple medications may interact with each other or with supplements and over-the-counter treatments.
As a leading provider of Toronto home care, the safety of our patients is our number one priority. Because we know the extreme dangers of poor medication management, we wanted to share a few tips for how family caregivers can better help their loved ones monitor daily prescriptions.
It is important for seniors to keep a list of their regular medications with them at all times, and it should include prescriptions, supplements and non-prescription drugs. Seniors should present their health care providers with their medication list at each appointment, especially if being treated by more than one physician. Fortunately, many large health care networks are linking their patients’ information within a system so that multiple providers have access to their records; this helps reduce the risk of prescribing drugs that may interact with each other.
Establishing a Regimen
There are several different approaches that seniors can take in an effort to stay on track with their medication schedules. Trying different methods by a course of trial and error can help individuals to find a regimen that works best for their routine. Some helpful suggestions include:
- Setting a recurring alarm on a clock or cell phone that doesn’t need to be reset for medication times
- Keeping prescription bottles where the dishes are stored as a reminder if pills are taken at mealtimes
- Using a pill box that separates daily doses
- Marking days on a calendar as a reminder to refill prescriptions
There are times when a senior may be unable to manage his or her medications and treatments due to problems such as dementia and loss of physical mobility. Loved ones should closely monitor their senior’s ability to cope with their regimen and step in when necessary by offering help or enlisting professional care. Professional part-time and live-in Toronto caregivers are a great resource and can provide seniors with medication reminders, as well as help with household tasks and personal care activities.
Medication administration should always be taken seriously, but especially when prescriptions involve preparations that can have fatal effects if they are missed or overdosed such as:
- Heart medications
- High blood pressure pills
- Diabetic testing
- Insulin and oral diabetic medications
- Pain medications
For more information on medication management or to learn more about in-home care for an aging parent or loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Toronto today. We serve seniors and families in Toronto and Etobicoke and offer complimentary, no-obligation consultations. Call 416-488-8777 to speak with a friendly and knowledgeable Care Manager today.