Taking medications is more or less a part of life. Children, adults, and seniors alike may have prescriptions they take on a regular basis. When it comes to seniors especially, taking medications is essentially the norm. Medication management, however, can be tricky. While a home health nursing assistant may be there to assist in managing a loved one’s medications, it’s important that family and friends know what to do as well. There are dosages to be aware of, times at which medication needs to be taken, and side effects to watch for. Helping a loved one manage their medications can be a great stress relief to family, friends, and seniors alike.
The first thing you’ll want to do is help your loved one organize their medication. Poor medication management can lead to incorrect dosages, taking the same medication twice, or entirely forgetting to take medications — all of which can have dire consequences.
Below are some tips on organizing medications:
Medication can be stored in a dresser drawer, a kitchen cabinet away from the sink, or a storage drawer. You could also use smaller plastic bins to organize medications inside that drawer. However you decide to store your loved one’s medications, remember to prevent heat, moisture, air, or light from damaging them. Ideally, you want to keep medications in their original container and store them in a dry, cool location.
As previously mentioned, reading medication labels and following guidelines is critical. Not doing so could present harmful side effects. Medication labels can be tricky though, so it’s important to break down how to read them. Essentially, each bottle features a white panel that states: how to take the medication, what’s in it, and how it may make you feel.
Below are the sections of any given medication bottle:
Innovations in digital healthcare have provided several useful apps for seniors — namely, medication reminder apps. The MedMinder pill dispenser and the Reminder Rosie alarm clock are two medication reminder apps to consider.
Integrating a new prescription into a senior’s day can be tough as habits are hard to form for anybody. Thankfully, there are medication reminder apps that can help, such as the ones mentioned above. Make sure however that a given medication does not have special storage instructions that advise not taking it out of its original container.
When integrating a new prescription into a loved one’s life, it is also important to be on the lookout for side effects. Such side effects may occur simply from the drug itself or from interactions with other prescriptions a senior is already taking. Certain drugs may also cause unfavorable side effects when taken with certain food or drinks. Mixing alcohol, for instance, with some drugs may lead to drowsiness or slowed reaction time.
The same caution needs to be taken when integrating over-the-counter drugs that contain active ingredients. Loved ones may want to look up what it takes to be a hospice nursing aide. While this is not a job, caring for your senior is a lot like being a hospice aide — with administering medication being one of the biggest responsibilities.
Always keep in touch with your loved one’s doctor and report side effects to them as soon as they occur. Keeping in contact with a doctor helps keep prescriptions up-to-date and stay on track with taking multiple medications.
Resources to have on hand in the event of an emergency:
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