Medication is normally a crucial part of care for our aging loved ones. Often, seniors take multiple medications at a time for varying issues.
Taking multiple medications can lead to complexities for seniors. Some medicines can’t be taken on an empty stomach, some need to be taken alone, some need to be taken multiple times a day . . . the complexities of medication schedules goes on and on.
Our aging loved ones can have difficulty following these complex schedules, sometimes even forgetting to take their medicine at all. They may not realize that two of their medications aren’t compatible and have negative effects when taken together, or that over-the-counter drugs shouldn’t be used at the same time.
Because of this, many children realize that someone needs to monitor their parent’s medication use. If you’re not sure if your aging loved one should have their medication use monitored, keep reading.
Why to Monitor Your Parent’s Medication Use
Not taking medication that’s prescribed, or taking too little or too much of it, can have adverse effects.
On top of that, older people may experience side effects from a medication because it’s interacting with:
- Another medication
- A symptom or disorder that it is not prescribed for
- Vitamin or herbal supplements
Because there are so many variables involved when taking multiple medications, it can be difficult for an aging loved one to follow the schedule, especially if they have any memory or cognitive impairment.
How to Monitor Your Parent’s Medication Use
If you feel that you need to monitor your parent’s medication use, the next step is to figure out how to do so.
There are a number of things you can do to help. The most important thing is to make sure their doctors and pharmacy know all the prescriptions they are currently taking, so they can avoid prescribing medications that have negative reactions.
To do this, you can:
- Create a list of all their medications and what they’re taking them for
- Make sure their doctors and pharmacy have the list
- Always review all the medications they are taking with their doctor anytime a new drug is prescribed
- Update the list any time their medications change
Even if your parent does not have any conflicting medications, the schedule for taking their medications may still be incomprehensibly complex. To help your parent take their medications in the right order and when they’re supposed to, you can:
- Ask their doctors if there is a simpler regime they can follow
- Get them a medication organizer
- Get them a smartphone app that helps them keep up with their schedule
- Remind them of the schedule over the phone or in person
Monitoring your parent’s medication use can be a daunting task if you work full-time or odd hours, or if you live in a different city than your parent. But not monitoring their medication use could have serious consequences.
At Bluebird Homecare, our caregivers can monitor your aging parent’s medication use in person, making sure they take the correct doses of all their medications, at the right time. Our caregivers can also take your parent to their doctor’s appointments and pick up their medications at the pharmacy, and ensure that their doctors and pharmacist know all of the medications they’re taking.