With more than 10,000 prescription drugs available in the United States, it’s no wonder that so many older adults – about one in three – are taking a minimum of five of them every day. And family caregivers in Austin know firsthand the difficulty of handling these medications for seniors. The truth is, studies show that approximately 55% of prescription drugs are being taken incorrectly for a number of reasons, and the results can be extremely dangerous.
Decrease the risk for errors with this advice for medication safety for seniors, courtesy of one of the best home care agencies in Austin and the surrounding area – CareFor:
Educate yourself on each prescription. If you’re uncertain of the correct dosage, management or side effects of a senior’s medications, ask the physician or pharmacist for the following types of details:
- The name of the drug (brand and generic)
- Why the medicine is being recommended
- The length and duration for taking the drug
- The proper dosage and time of day to take the medicine
- Potential side effects and drug interactions, as well as how the medicine should be taken (for instance, on an empty stomach, with a full glass of water, etc.)
Also, be sure to ask the senior’s physician to routinely perform a medication review to verify which medications are still recommended and which ones could perhaps be stopped.
Prepare an up-to-date list of all medications. Creating a detailed list of all prescribed medications, OTC medications, and vitamins and supplements that the older adult is taking can be a tremendous help at doctors’ appointments. The list should cover all of the information above, plus:
- The shape, size and color of the medication (include a picture of the drug if possible)
- The prescribing physician’s name and telephone 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 home care agencies in Austin, we can help put into practice these medication management tips for seniors, as well as provide a full range of customized home care services to enhance health and quality of life. Contact us online or call us at (512) 338-4533 for more information about our caregivers in Austin and the surrounding area, and to find out if our services are available in your area.