Home Where to Begin
Our Care ServicesLife at Provision
Between church on Sunday, grandkids’ sports games, concerts, family get-togethers and everyday activities to remember, life can be difficult to keep track of. As we age, medicine is another item we add to that list as we develop conditions and illnesses, but managing them can prove challenging while also juggling multiple activities in your week.
We put together a list of five tips you can use to help manage your or your loved one’s medications.
When you go to an appointment, you may end up being prescribed a new medication, and it is important that you ask questions about this medication so you know what to look out for. Having a list of questions prepared beforehand can help you remember to get the information you need. According to the National Institute on Aging, some questions you may want to ask are:
The United States Food and Drug Administration also recommends taking someone you trust with you when you visit your doctor. Your doctor is going to give you a lot of information, and it can be hard to retain. If you take someone with you, they can help you remember important information or they may have questions of their own based on experience or out of curiosity. If no one is available to join you, write down the information or ask your doctor for a list of the medications they prescribed and how you should take them. Your pharmacist is also a great resource.
If you don’t get one from your doctor, make a list of your medications. Include who prescribed them, what they are for, how often you take them, and the dosage. The FDA says when making this list you should be sure to include over-the-counter medication, vitamins, supplements, herbal remedies, and eye drops. Different medications can react when taken together, causing some medications to not do their job or another to have stronger side effects than they are intended to.
Keeping a journal is a good idea to help you and your physician judge how your medication is affecting you. Try to keep track of the times you are taking them, what you are eating with them if you take them with food, your moods, how often you use the restroom, and how much energy you have. Are you tired all the time? Is the medication doing what it should? By keeping track of any changes in your behaviors, large or small, your doctor will be able to determine if these medications are right for you and can adjust them as needed. You should also keep track of your weight as well; according to the United States Food and Drug Administration, your weight can affect how the medication works in your body and how much it will affect you.
Does your medication need to be refilled? If so, speak to your pharmacist about how long your current prescription will last and be sure to refill it before you run out. The FDA advises that you get your prescriptions refilled early so you do not run out, as an interruption in your regimen could negatively impact you. You should also ask your doctor what might happen if you miss a dose.
The FDA also suggests if your current medication is too expensive to ask your physician or pharmacist for an alternative that may fit better in your budget. In addition, they recommend that you throw out old medications. Throwing out the old medications will help you stay organized and prevent you from accidentally taking any older or expired prescriptions.
To help you remember to take your medications, use your habits to help you remember. The National Institute of Aging recommends writing notes which you can leave in places you go around the house. They also suggested having someone call you to check in and help remind you to take your medication or the use of a calendar or alarm. If you need a way to see if you already took them, use a pill case with days of the week on them. If you are caring for a loved one with memory problems, it may be a good idea to hand them the medicine directly as is recommended by the National Institute on Aging.
Provision Living considers the health of our seniors to be our top priority. Speak to one of our care consultants today to learn how we help seniors in our communities manage their medications.
Image credit: istockphoto.com