Seniors often end up taking multiple medications each day to stay healthy and manage various medical conditions. However, it can be far too easy to mix up medications, take the wrong dosage, or forget to take medication at the right time. Medication mishaps are one of the leading causes of health emergencies for seniors. As a caregiver, there are a few things you can do to make sure you and your senior loved one don’t end up making mistakes with medications.
Create a Master List of All Dosages & Medication Names
Work with your loved one’s doctor to create a definitive list that includes the names, dosages, and dosage times for every medication your loved one needs to take. It may be helpful to make a few copies of this list so you can keep one at your loved one’s home and give a copy to anyone else who provides care for him or her. Anytime there’s uncertainty about when to take a medication, you can check the list to see the right option.
Keep Pills in Their Original Containers
It’s essential to avoid ending up with a big bag of mixed pills. Several common senior medications look very similar, and they can easily be mistaken for each other if they aren’t kept in properly labeled containers.
Seniors with age-related cognitive conditions such as dementia often need assistance with remembering to take their medications. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Oshkosh families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.
Use a Pill Dispenser
If you’re willing to invest in a fancy version of a pill dispenser, it may be an easy solution for your problems. Thanks to medical technology, there are plenty of dispensers that allow you to load in several medications and set a time for the machine to dispense each pill. Even simpler versions that allow you to sort out all the pills your loved one needs to take for each day of the week can be helpful in some situations.
If you aren’t always able to be with your loved one to make sure he or she takes medications correctly, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Elder care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Dispose of Medications that Are No Longer Used
Having a big collection of almost-empty pill bottles is just asking for trouble. You or your loved one may end up mixing up one of these outdated medications with a new prescription, leading to issues with overdosing or harmful pill interactions. To avoid this major cause of medication mishaps, throw out pills once your loved one is done with the prescribed course of medication.
Talk to the Doctor if a Dose Is Missed
No matter how careful you are, there may come a time when a dosage accidentally gets skipped. If this occurs, give your loved one’s doctor a call and ask for a recommendation on how to proceed. It may be dangerous to wait until the next dosage for some types of medication, while others may cause problems if you try to double a dosage or they’re taken at a different time.
Seniors need to make sure they take medications as prescribed, and having a professional caregiver close by can be just what an aging adult needs to be reminded how and when to take medicine. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to assisted living facilities. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Oshkosh senior care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. To create a customized in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at (920) 573-6295.