“Be sure to take your vitamins!” How many times have we heard about the need to make sure we’re meeting the daily recommended requirement for the myriad of vitamin and mineral supplements that are designed to keep us healthy and well? What we hear less often is the danger in pairing specific medications with OTC supplements – especially for older adults.
With the vast majority of older adults – 87% of them – taking a minimum of one prescription medicine, and many taking five or more, it’s crucial to become educated on the threats involved in how they interact with vitamins and minerals, and even with some types of foods. In some situations, mixing medicines can cause a diminished effectiveness of the medications, in addition to a plethora of more serious health concerns.
Because our goal is to keep seniors safe and well, Grace Home Care, a provider of home and dementia care in Topeka, shares the helpful tips below related to medication and supplement interactions:
- Keep a list – and share it. Prepare a list of all the medicines your older loved one is taking, and include OTC medications like aspirin or allergy relief products as well as vitamin/mineral supplements. Include details such as dose levels, how often each medication is taken, and at what time of day. Then provide a copy of the list to your senior loved one’s doctor and pharmacist to confirm the medication plan is both safe and effective.
- Do your research. A great online program is available, the Drug Interactions Checker, that allows you to key a list of medications into the database and run a report automatically to determine if there are any contraindications. It even lists potential food interaction alerts, such as any concerns with drinking alcoholic drinks with a certain medication.
- Be extremely vigilant during hospitalizations. In many cases, when an older adult is hospitalized, doctors at the hospital will write prescriptions for new medications on top of those already prescribed. Add these new medicines to the senior’s list, run through the Drug Interactions Checker, and share with his or her primary care physician to decrease the possibility of problems.
Additionally, Grace Home Care’s experts in home and dementia care in Topeka can help keep older adults healthy and safe in a variety of ways. We can provide transportation and accompaniment for seniors to medical appointments and procedures, keep an up-to-date listing of medicines being taken, pick up prescription medications, provide medication reminders, prepare healthy meals, and so much more. Contact us at 785.286.CARE to get started on improving wellbeing for your senior loved one.