With as many as 10,000 prescription medications available in the U.S., it’s no surprise that so many older individuals – about one in three – are taking at least five of them on a daily basis. And family caregivers know firsthand the struggles of handling these medications for seniors. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that upwards of 55% of prescription medications are being taken incorrectly for a number of reasons, and the effects can be extremely dangerous.
Minimize the risk for mistakes with these tips for medication safety for seniors, courtesy of one of the best home care agencies in Nashville – Stay Home Care.
Educate yourself on each prescription. If you’re uncertain of the proper dosage, management or side effects of a senior’s meds, ask the doctor or pharmacist for the following types of information:
- The name of the medicine (brand and generic)
- Why the medicine is being suggested
- The length and duration for taking the medication
- The correct dose and time of day to take the prescription
- Possible side effects and drug interactions, along with how the medication should be taken (for instance, on an empty stomach, with a full glass of water, etc.)
Also, make sure to ask the senior’s doctor to periodically perform a medication review to verify which medications are still required and which ones could perhaps be stopped.
Another essential step in maintaining medication safety for seniors is to create a current list of all medicines. Creating a comprehensive list of all prescribed medicines, OTC medications, and vitamins and supplements that the older person is taking can be a great help at doctors’ appointments. This list should cover all of the information above, plus:
- The shape, size and color of the medicine (include a picture of the drug if possible)
- The prescribing physician’s name and phone number
- The date each medication was first taken, and whether or not it should be refilled and taken continually
- The date the list was last updated
As one of the top-rated providers of non-medical home care in Nashville and the surrounding areas, we can help ensure medication safety for seniors, as well as provide a full range of customized home care services to enhance health and quality of life. Contact us at 615-964-7726 for more information and to find out if our services are available in your area.