Tips For Taking Medications Safely for Seniors
Seniors are more likely to take multiple medications. Two-thirds of adults age 65 and older use one or more medicines each day, and a quarter of them take three drugs each day. They’re also more sensitive to drugs’ effects, both therapeutic and negative. Declining vision, hearing, and memory also contribute to medication risks. The more you know about your medicines and the more you communicate with your health professionals, the better your chances are for avoiding possible problems with medicines.
Below are the Tips For Taking Medications Safely for Seniors:
- Participate. Seniors should Read medicine labels and package inserts. If they have difficulty reading the label, ask a friend, relative or pharmacist for help. If they have questions about the label directions or warnings, ask their doctor or other health care professional.
- Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take: Seniors should consult with doctor regarding the prescription and nonprescription medicines, as well as dietary supplements, vitamins and herbals. Also tell their doctor about any allergies they have (foods, other medicines, etc.).
- Follow directions. Seniors should always follow their doctor’s directions about taking medications. There are often important reasons to take a medication at a specific dose and time.
- Keep track of side effects: Seniors should keep track of the side effects and let your doctor know immediately about any unexpected symptoms or changes in the way they feel.
- Keep a list: Seniors should keep a record of all medications, including the times and reasons they take each one, will help their providers adjust their medications and identify potential interactions. Don’t leave out over-the-counter drugs, herbal medications, and supplements.
- Use memory aids: Seniors should use memory aids such as a calendar or pill box, to help them remember what to take and when.
- Ask pharmacist about patient records: Seniors should ask pharmacist about patient records as many pharmacies now keep these records for patients so that they will be able to keep track of all medicines they are currently taking, as well as allergies and current medical conditions.
- Avoid others’ medications: Seniors should avoid other’s medication to use. Taking other people’s drugs may cause adverse reactions or interactions. Never take prescription medications their doctor has not prescribed for them.
- Store medications properly: Seniors should store medications properly. Most should be stored in a dry place at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, and out of children’s reach; others may require refrigeration. Throw away expired medications, which may be ineffective or even toxic.
- Go through your medicine cabinet at least once a year to get rid of old or expired medicines. If small children or pets are in your home, it is best to throw away old medicines and dietary supplements in the toilet or sink rather than the trash can.
- Have all your medicines reviewed by your doctor at least once a year. Don’t forget to include any over-the-counter medicines you take, as well as vitamins, dietary supplements and herbals. Write them down so you won’t forget to mention any.