People call it “running” errands for a reason – we have the tendency to need to get through them as soon as possible! However, in terms of picking up prescriptions, slowing down and taking additional time to speak with the pharmacist, instead of hurrying through the drive-through, is essential – particularly for older adults who often take many different medications.
The following list of questions to ask at the neighborhood pharmacy is an easy starting point to make sure that both you and the senior you are caring for are equipped with the knowledge required:
1. What, when and how: First of all, obtain clarification on the basics, even though the most important details are usually included on the label or associated paperwork. What is the recommended dosage? Is there a certain time of day the medication must be taken? Will it be taken with food, water, milk, on an empty stomach, etc.?
2. When errors arise: If too much or not enough of the med is taken, or if a dose is forgotten, what steps should be taken? What if a senior does not remember taking the prescription and takes a duplicate amount?
3. Side effects: Again, this info should be printed out for you, but the pharmacist can supply you with a thorough breakdown of the most frequent effects to look out for, and how to proceed if any side effects or an allergic reaction occurs.
4. What to avoid: Some medications interact negatively with others, or even with various types of food. Others may cause drowsiness or dizziness, rendering it unsafe to drive or operate machinery and raising the chance of a fall.
5. Duration: Will this medication need to be taken continuously, or is it short-term? If long-term, what number of refills are part of the prescription? And is there a shelf life/expiration date? What happens in the event that medication is taken beyond this date?
Lastly, make sure to request an evaluation of all medications your loved one is taking to check for any contraindications between meds. This is specifically vital for seniors acquiring prescriptions from multiple medical professionals and specialists. Ask the pharmacist if there is any duplication in the senior’s list of meds to prevent overmedication. It may be that one doctor has prescribed a generic version of a medication, while another wrote the order for the drug’s brand name.
Grace Home Care will help ensure seniors continue to be both knowledgeable in regards to the medications they are taking, and compliant in taking them exactly as prescribed. We are available to pick up prescriptions, provide transportation and accompaniment to the pharmacy to permit non-driving seniors to talk with the pharmacist, prompt seniors at the recommended time to take meds, and much more .