Senior Medication Management Tips 101

Medication management for seniors can be overwhelming. Receiving a medication prescription involves more than taking a pill. Along with it come the logistics of coordinating with your pharmacy, understanding the drug, experiencing its effects on your body, and getting into a routine of taking it, to name a few. On top of it, for many people who take prescription medication, there are multiple medications to juggle.

While it can sometimes feel overwhelming, Jodi Cigelske, RN, our Residential Health Care Coordinator, suggests these 7 tips to help stay on top of your medications, whether it’s two of them or twelve.

At Three Pillars, we not only plan ahead to prevent safety concerns in the design of our buildings and added features, but we partner with our staff and residents to educate them. We work to prevent what we can and ensure we’re all prepared in the case of an unavoidable safety concern.

  1. Ask your pharmacist about pill bottles and packaging options
    You may find that they offer multi-dose packs or other types of options, which can improve accuracy and decrease chance of errors in taking your medications. Talking to your doctor or pharmacist will help you find the right packaging option for your medication.
Medication packaged by daily dose
The right packaging option can make taking medications a breeze.

2. Inform yourself about medication management services and tools available
Take a quick browse on Google or ask your pharmacist for a catalog. You may be delighted with what you find, with options ranging from automatic dispenser boxes to boxes organized by week and time of day or even a personal pill packaging system.

Personal, color-coded pill management containers
  1. Set timers to remind you to take your meds
    As simple as it may sound, set your alarm clock or cell phone to alert you at the same time each day so your less likely to forget a dose.
  2. See your primary care physician regularly to review your medication list
    Your physician is your expert for medications. Be sure to visit the doctor regularly, and at each visit, review your list of current medications. If you’ve stopped taking something, if one has given you poor side effects, or you have a question about something, always have that conversation with your physician.
  3. Be aware of side effects
    Ask up front when you receive a prescription, talk with the pharmacist, and keep your physician in the loop about any side affects you experience. For some side effects, simply being aware of them can give you a leg up in incorporating them into your daily life. If any are unbearable, certainly bring it up with your doctor to explore alternate options.
  4. Drink plenty of liquids with your medications
    Taking your drug with enough liquid helps push it all the way down to the stomach and prevents it from getting lodged in the esophagus. Not only can that create an uncomfortable sensation, but it could prevent the drug from working in your body the way it’s intended to.
  1. Check first with your provider before adding over the counter medications
    If you catch yourself thinking, “This is an over-the-counter drug, I’ll just add it along with my prescriptions” — think again. According to ClevelandClinic.org, “The way the body absorbs, breaks down, and eliminates medicine from your body is very important to the effect that a medicine has on your system, as well as its effect on other medications.” If you let your provider know, you can work together with your pharmacist to lessen the chance of drug interactions, whether they are over-the-counter, supplements, or prescriptions.

If we can ever be a resource to you, contact us to ask a question – we’d love to hear from you!

Leave a Comment