Tuesday, 22 August 2017 00:00

Tips on medication management

A large part of aging is coming to terms with the fact that your loved one’s health may deteriorate, and the consumption of many different forms of medication and vitamins may become a daily ritual for them. Polypharmacy comes with its own hazards, including dangerous drug interactions and becoming over-medicated – which is why medication management by both your patient or loved one and their carers is vital to best managing health.

Here are a few basic tips to staying on top of medication management:

Double check that the dosage is age-appropriate

Seniors tend to have more sensitive digestive systems as they age. As such, it’s wise to check whether the dosage they have been prescribed is appropriate for their age and disposition, as they are more likely to experience adverse effects. It may be advisable to ask for a lower dosage initially, then begin to taper up.

Check if medications are ‘safe for seniors’

Many medications on the market pose a higher risk of side effects or interactions, while others are just less effective. Check with your pharmacist or doctor whether the prescribed medication is safe for their sensitive system and don’t pose any risks of severe side effects.

Stick to one trustworthy pharmacy and doctor

While there is no harm in getting a second opinion if you are in doubt of certain prescriptions, it is always best for you and your patient or loved one to stick to a trusted pharmacist and doctor who both use open and honest lines of communication. Using the same pharmacy for each prescription also ensures you always receive the correct dosage of each medication.

Create and maintain a medication list

Create a basic chart of all the medications your loved one or patient is currently taking, the dosage, the time of day and the reason why. Make sure the list is easy to understand for both of you and easy to access and update when needed.

Carefully monitor medication compliance in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients

If your loved one has been diagnosed with either of these cognitive diseases, it is best that they do not manage their own medication. If they are in the very early stages, a reminder system will be helpful, but for more advanced conditions, medication must be administered and managed by a carer.

Know the side effects of prescribed medications

This way you will be able to spot when bad interactions have occurred with a medication or medication has been mixed or mis-managed. If you notice any serious changes in health, contact your doctor immediately.

While some elderly loved ones may still be able to manage their medication in-take quite independently, those with Alzheimer’s or dementia must be closely monitored. It goes without saying that if you are aware that they have had a bad reaction to any medication in the past, let your doctor or pharmacist know. Nothing substitutes for responsible caregiving and being proactive when it comes to the medications your patient or loved one is taking!

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