Sticking to a medication schedule or keeping a loved one on track can be tough, especially when you are the caregiver for a senior who doesn’t live with you. Because older adults often take multiple medicines each day, it’s easy to see how mistakes happen. Researchers say 41% of seniors take 5 or more medications every day! Between dosages, times, and refills, it’s a lot to organize.
Some of the most common issues seniors encounter when it comes to managing their medication schedule include:
- Difficulty ordering medication refills
- Trouble getting to and from the pharmacy
- Problems reading small print on medication labels
- Struggles with tough-to-open bottles
- Remembering which medication to take and when
These difficulties can add up to big trouble for older adults. In fact, medication errors are one of the leading reasons so many of our seniors end up in a hospital emergency room. According to the National Academy of Medicine, mistakes with medication send 770,000 adults a year to the hospital. Some forget to take a dose on time, while others might accidentally take too much.
If you or a senior in your life is struggling with medication management, here are a few tips and tools you may find useful.
Ways to Organize a Senior Loved One’s Medications
- Pharmacy blister packs: Talk with your local pharmacist or the mail order pharmacy your insurance uses to see if they can set up punch cards or blister packs. These simple packaging solutions separate medications by day and time of dosage. When it’s time to take a medication, the user only has to push the pill through a foil or paper covering on the back of the pack. No more struggling to get the lid off pill bottles!
- Reminder calls or alerts: If you or an older family member often forgets to take medications, set up a recurring smart phone alert as a reminder. You can call or text them when you get the alert. There are also services, like Medication Call Reminder and Sage Minder, that offer automated phone calls at dosage times.
- Medication apps: Smart phone users can also explore medication apps that provide a reminder. Dosecast and Medisafe Medication Management are two apps that can remind an individual when it’s time to take their pills.
- Electronic pill dispensers: Another solution to explore is electronic pill dispensers. These comprehensive products utilize wireless technology to sound an alert and open when it’s time to take a medication. They can open just the compartment containing the necessary pill. For safety, the system can text or call a contact person if a senior misses a dose.
Finally, remember to dispose of medications that are no longer needed. People tend to hang on to medications in case they might need them again in the future. It’s usually best to get rid of anything not currently prescribed for the senior to prevent a dangerous mix-up or the medicine falling into the wrong hands. This article will help you figure out the best way to dispose of old medications.
Medication Management at Heritage Senior Communities
At Heritage Senior Communities, medication management is one of our most utilized services. Our professional caregivers handle all of the details, including dispensing medicines at the appropriate time. Call the Heritage location nearest you to learn more!