Even the sharpest minds can get confused when it comes to taking medication in the right dosage, at the right time. If you're like many seniors, you're taking several prescriptions at one time. According to the health think tank Lown Institute, 42% of older adults take more than five prescription medications. That means keeping track of your medications can be a real challenge. Here are some tips for managing your medication schedule:
Create a Medication Routine
This could be a list or notations on a calendar used just for this purpose. (Some seniors create a separate calendar on their smartphones with alarms for when to take each prescription!) Write down the name of the drug, exact dosage and time to take each of your prescriptions. It's helpful to note if they should be taken on an empty stomach, or with food. Share the list with each of your doctors and/or your pharmacist to double check your accuracy and minimize unsafe drug interactions.
Store Your Medications Properly
Each prescription should be labeled and easy to read. Keep the containers together in one place - many seniors prefer a pill box, small storage container or shelf in the kitchen, especially if they're taking medications to coincide with a meal. Make sure you're following directions for storage (such as refrigerating if necessary or storing out of direct light). If you share your residence, each person should have a different place for medicines so you don't accidentally get them mixed up. Got grandkids coming around? Choose a place that's out of reach for little hands.
Avoid Running Out or Letting Medications Expire
If running low on a prescription is a concern for you, look for a pharmacy that offers automatic refills. That way you won't forget to have the right medicines on hand. Some pharmacies will also deliver to your residence or mail the medications for you so you don't have to make an extra trip out and you don't risk running out of a needed medication.
At Ebenezer, we offer care coordination for residents who are living in our Florida, Iowa and Minnesota locations. Through Fairview Partners, you can receive on-site care from a nurse practitioner or pharmacist to minimize your risk of problems with medication management or other health issues. For more information about our communities and the health services we have available, contact us.