Medicine Management for the Elderly: Tips & Advice
Being responsible for an elderly person’s wellbeing can be very difficult, especially when they’re taking lots of different types of medication. If you make a mistake, it can be a matter of life and death. But don’t worry: there are lots of different things you can try in order to make medicine management easier. Whether that’s downloading a useful app or turning to a relative for some extra help, there’s always something you can do. Here are some tips to help take the pressure off with medicine management.
Keep a list of all the medication they’re on
If they’re taking lots of different types of medication, it’s important that you’re keeping track of it all. The best way to do this is by writing a list – this should include all prescribed and over the counter medication. It will be very useful any time they change doctors or need to go to hospital, and it will be handy to prompt those with memory loss issues too. You should make two copies: one for you, one for them. Here are a few benefits to consider:
- It will stop them from forgetting to take their medication and it will stop them from taking overly large doses
- It will stop them from buying over the counter medication that does the exact same thing as the prescribed medication (and therefore stop them from taking too much)
- In case anything ever happens to them, it will be very useful for the doctors treating them to have access to a list of all the medication they’re on. If they keep this list with them at all times, or if you can easily hand it over, it could be extremely beneficial
Encourage them to ask if they are unsure
Yes, their doctor knows best, but nobody is infallible. If they’re being prescribed something that you or they remember having a negative side effect in the past, or which you are generally a little unsure or uneasy about, encourage them to ask the doctor about it, or even get in touch with them yourself. If the doctor has made a mistake or oversight, then it definitely should be brought to their attention.
If you are adamant that your doctor has made a mistake with your prescription, but they will not accept it, there is still something else you can do: ask for a second opinion. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Download a medicine management app
There are apps available now that can help to make almost anything easier, including medicine management. Whether you are using this yourself or have shown the person you are caring for how to use it, it could make both of your lives a lot easier. Here are a few of the best ones to try:
- Micromedex: This is a useful app that will let you know how certain drugs are supposed to be taken, what sort of dosage a person usually takes, what possible side effects drugs have and what different types of drugs achieve. Available for iOS and Android
- MyChart: If you want to have all of their medical records stored on your phone, this is the app for you. It can help you to keep up with all the medication they’re on and even things like reminders about appointments. You can order prescription refills directly with this app too. Available for iOS and Android
- CareZone: This is an app made specifically to help people to keep track of any medication they (or somebody they are caring for) are on. You can list all the medicine they’re taking, set to-do lists, set doctor’s appointments and more. Available for Android
These are just three examples of the plethora of apps out there that could be making your life easier. If you’ve got a smartphone, but you’re not using any of them, you should do so as soon as possible. The same applies to the person you are caring for.
Not into apps, but happy with a desktop? When it comes to reordering prescriptions, getting to the pharmacy can sometimes be a pain, particularly if you live out in the countryside. Online doctors and online pharmacies make it easy and convenient to order medical treatments online, so you’ve got them there ready when you need them.
Make sure that somebody else knows what they’re taking
Making sure that their partner (or somebody else important in their life) is intimately familiar with the medication they’re on can be very important – especially if it causes any level of disorientation or if they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. If somebody else is helping with the medicine management as well, the chances of mistakes being made are significantly reduced.
This idea works quite well in conjunction with the idea of keeping a comprehensive medication list. If you make sure that you’re not the only one to update it, it will mean that it will definitely stay up to date all the time and it will always stand as a useful resource.
Medication management can be hard, but with help from others and from simple organisation, it can be made a little easier. It’s very important that you get this right, because a bad combination of drugs could cause complication. But you don’t need to worry because even doing something as simple as making a list can make a huge difference. What methods do you use to help with medicine management?