Monday, May 27, 2024

Medication Management in the Elderly

elderly medication in elderly man's handsMedication Adherence

Medications are a big part of caregiving.  Seniors who take medications as prescribed are more likely to see health benefits.  When interviewed, most people think they do not need any help with remembering to take medications.  In studies, however, it turns out that about half of those taking medications fail to take them as prescribed and frequently forget doses altogether.  In the senior population, non-adherence is even higher ranging from 50-75%.

Consequences of Non-Adherence

"Drugs don't work in patients who don't take them."

- C. Everett Koop, M.D.

Non-adherence results in:

  • Unnecessary hospital re-admissions after 30 days (about 30%)
  • About 40% of all nursing home admissions
  • Unnecessary hospital admissions
  • Enable premature worsening of condititions

Benefits of Good Elderly Medication Compliance

  • Fewer emergency room visits
  • Decreased morbidity and mortality rates
  • Higher productivity
  • Decreased inpatient hospital stays

 Be Organized and Take as Prescribed - Lists Help!

  • Download our free medication form, print it out, and fill it in
  • Listing the medication details will help you to learn more about what each pill does, its name, and what it looks like
  • Keep your listing with you when getting refills or visiting a physician
  • Every time a medication changes or you receive a new prescription, update your form
  • Keep your form with you at all times and have a copy with a caregiver or loved one
  • Keep medicines in their original containers
  • Always take medications exactly as prescribedman checking his medication reminder

Let Your Doctors Know What You are Taking

  • Take your updated medication form with you to every appointment for all your doctors
  • Each time you visit, remind the doctor of the other medications you are taking or simply show the form. Remember to include herbal and vitamin supplements

Pay Attention to Detail at the Pharmacy

  • When you get a refill at a pharmacy, check the label, look at the pill, etc. and make sure that the pill, dosage instructions, and label match the information on the form
  • If there is any question, ask the pharmacist to ensure that you have been given the proper medication

Store Elderly Medication Well

  • When storing medications at home, it is important to keep them in their original containers to avoid confusion.
  • Never mix different drugs into a container
  • Most medications can be stored in a cool, dry place and should not be refrigerated unless specifically instructed to do so
  • If you have many medications, seek the help of a pharmacist to help make a dosage schedule and select pill boxes or other ways to keep track of and manage a dosage schedule for the day.  Once you do have a dosage schedule, the SageMinder can help by offering reminder calls for your specific medication routine.

Take Medications Properly

elderly medication

  • Always take medications exactly as prescribed. Never take more or less than the dosage on the label and don’t ever discontinue a prescribed medicine without first checking with your physician
  • Never take medicines in the dark
  • Make sure your dosage schedule accounts for some special dosage instructions - like medications that need to be taken with a meal for example

Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist Questions About New Medications and Write Down the Answers

  • Are there special instructions like when it should be taken, with what foods, etc.? Some drugs require an empty stomach and others work better taken with food. Some medicines even interact with certain foods, like grapefruit juice. Make sure you understand special instructions related to foods
  • Does this medication interact with other drugs you are taking – including alcohol, over-the-counter medicines and supplements.

SageMinder Care Calls Can Help with Elderly Medication

 The SageMinder System for elderly medication management is an affordable way to prompt your loved on to take medications on time and to track compliance with the medication schedule.   30-day Risk-Free Offer.

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