Helping Seniors Manage Their Medications

Many seniors have more than one medication to take each day. In fact, many have multiple pills taken at different times of the day, and that can be confusing for anyone, not just seniors. It’s important to have an organization plan that keeps pills stored safely and ready to take at the right time of day, and caregivers can help make this easier.

Store everything in one place. Most seniors have more than one prescription, and their doctors may also have recommended a regimen of vitamins and minerals or over-the-counter medications for various conditions. Storing everything in the same place ensures that all pills are safe, easy to find, and out of the reach of pets that live in the home or children that may come to visit.

Use a pill organizer. The easiest way to manage multiple pills that are taken daily is through a pill organizer. There are several on the market, so select one that best meets the needs of the senior’s daily routine. For those who take pills several times each day, there are pill organizers available with compartments for morning, lunch, evening, and nighttime to be sure nothing is forgotten. Before purchasing a pill organizer, check with the senior’s doctor to ensure that everything can be stored in one – there may be some medications that need to be stored in their original bottle.

Make a list. Even when using a pill organizer, it eventually needs refilling, and with multiple prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and vitamins and minerals to take each day, it can be easy to forget something. Write down the name of the medication, the dosage, and when and how often it is taken. When refilling the organizer for the week, use the list to check off each medication and ensure it is in its proper compartment.

Check for drug interactions. On every doctor visit, take the medication list along to ensure that no new medications have interactions with others already on the list. This includes vitamin and mineral supplements, since some medications may interact with them. If you’re unsure about the medications on the list and don’t have an upcoming doctor’s appointment, call the doctor’s office or your pharmacist to ask about possible interactions.

Clarify doctor instructions. If it’s not clear when and how a prescription should be taken, always call your senior’s doctor or pharmacist immediately to clarify. Taking prescription medication the wrong way can be dangerous, so be sure instructions are clear and understandable. This includes asking which medications should be taken with food or on an empty stomach, which can be important for avoiding stomach discomfort and to ensure effectiveness.

Plan for timely refills. Use the medication list and the weekly pill organization to check which medications are due for refills. Plan on visiting the pharmacy before the pills run out to avoid medication interruptions, which may be harmful.

Managing multiple prescriptions can be difficult for some seniors, so it’s important to stay organized to ensure they are getting the right medication. For those who need more help, it may be time to consider transitioning to senior assisted living. Contact our professionals at Ashbridge Manor Senior Living when it’s time to make the transition and we’ll make it easy for the senior you love. Our staff and state-of-the-art facilities emphasize wellness, fun daily activities, and a welcoming sense of community. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information.