Polypharmacy. If you’ve never heard of the term, you’re not alone but it’s becoming more and more common as a record number of people reach the age of 65 and over. It refers to when an individual takes more than one medication to treat multiple illnesses or conditions on a daily basis. Most seniors take at least five medications every day, and this can result in various problems such as accidental overdose, taking the wrong medication, administering the wrong medication, adverse medication interactions, and more.
Medication Management Tips for Seniors:
- Create a medications list. Continually update your medication list with every medication you take – even OTC medications and herbal remedies. Take it with you to your doctor’s appointments and specialist appointments.
- Reason for taking medication should be on label. This will not only help you, but also any caregiver that is helping you. It will also ensure that you aren’t taking too many medications for one issue.
- Utilize your pharmacist’s knowledge. Your pharmacist is highly knowledgeable; if you have any questions at all about the medications you are taking, make sure to ask them.
- Utilize the Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults. This is a list of medications put together by the American Geriatric Society that seniors should take with caution.
- Cut back on providers and pharmacists. Ideally, if you can have just one pharmacist, that will help you to keep better track of all of your medications and avert any medication accidents.
- Ask if the dosage is age-appropriate. The human body changes as it ages, and what might be the right dosage for a 35 year old may not be the right dosage for someone who is 75. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about this.
- Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. If you are uncomfortable with taking a prescribed medication for any reason, don’t hesitate to seek out a second opinion on whether or not you should be taking it.
- Know the medication side effects. Before taking the medication, read up on the side effects, and take note (actually write down) any side effects you might encounter so you can relay them to your doctor.
Always Best Care has been providing compassionate and exceptional in-home care giving services to seniors in the United States and Canada for the past 20 years. Seniors living in the Raleigh area, who are interested in finding out more about Apex home care and home care assistance in Raleigh, are encouraged to call the Always Best Care Raleigh location at 919-724-4297 to set up a free consultation.