Managing multiple medications can be challenging for older adults.

“Take 2 hours after eating. Avoid exposure to sunlight while taking this medication.”

“Take on an empty stomach. Do not take with aspirin.”

“Take twice a day with meals and a full glass of water. Could potentially cause excessive drowsiness.”

Managing multiple medications, from a number of physicians, taken at multiple times throughout the day, with varied and perhaps even conflicting directions can be challenging. Welcome to the day to day routine of countless older adults, 36% of whom take up to five or even more prescription medications concurrently.

Unsurprisingly, medicine mismanagement for older adults is not unusual. It can lead to frightening outcomes, making it vital to execute a plan to ensure seniors remain safe and compliant with doctors’ prescribed medicine regimens. These tips, courtesy of the respite care Topeka team at Grace Home Care, are a good place to begin:

  • Keep medications in one safe, centralized location. Gather up all meds your loved one takes on a day-to-day basis, both OTC and prescription, and put together in a sturdy bin. Ordinarily, the bathroom medicine cabinet will not be an ideal storage location, since the dampness and warmth may affect specific prescriptions. If a particular medication needs to be refrigerated, keep an empty bottle as a placeholder into the bin to function as a reminder. Keep the bin in a cool, dry place, securely out of reach of children and pets.
  • Assemble an inventory of all of the medications being taken. Remember to include in your log every medication’s name, how frequently and what amounts are prescribed, the name of the prescribing doctor, plus the reason for taking the med. Once finished, share the list with the senior’s primary care physician or pharmacist for an evaluation to make certain that there are not any undesirable contraindications. Set a reminder in your phone or calendar to review and edit the list on a frequent basis.
  • Utilize a pill organizer. Pill organizers are indispensable in ensuring meds are taken correctly. At the start of every week, sort and put correct doses of each and every medication into the correct day/time box. And then go back and double check to make sure all is in order.
  • Examine instructions. It is very important to be familiar with exactly how each medication ought to be taken (for example with or without food, if the pill can be broken or crushed, etc.), and what likely unwanted effects may be expected. If any instructions are not clear, check with the prescribing doctor right away for clarification. Gather these details into one succinct record and evaluate/update on a regular schedule.
  • Hire a knowledgeable caregiver to help. Managing many different meds correctly could be intimidating, and the addition of an experienced professional caregiver to provide medication reminders can be very helpful.

At Grace Home Care, our care staff are always here to remind our clients to take their meds exactly when and how they are prescribed, in conjunction with a full range of customized in-home care services to empower seniors to remain secure, independent, and flourishing. Get in touch with our respite care Topeka experts at 785-286-2273 for a free in-home consultation for more information!