Medication errors happen far too often, and can result in adverse reactions, hospitalizations and even death. Medication safety for seniors is an important area to address.
15-25 % of seniors are prescribed five or more medications, and one-third of seniors over the age of 85 take 10 or more different medications. That is a lot for anyone to manage and keep track of! Canadians are enjoying a longer life expectancy, and with that, have more chronic conditions requiring more medications to manage those conditions.
Tips For Safely Managing Multiple Medications
- Keep a list of all medications you take. Update and review your medication list regularly. Be sure to include all herbal medications, vitamins, supplements and topical medications you may use.
- Fill all your prescriptions at one pharmacy. Most pharmacies have databases that will alert the pharmacist to any medications that may react with each other.
- Read all the informational safety sheets provided by your pharmacist. Keep the safety information with your medications for easy reference.
- Most pharmacies will review all your medications and supplements and give you advice on when and how to take your medications.
- Keep all medications organized in an easily accessible place. Be sure to keep them away from heat, humidity and bright light.
- Many pharmacies are able to fill prescriptions in blister packs. These blister packs keep medications separated by day of the week and the time of day they need to be taken.
- Keep a calendar or journal of your daily activities, appointments and medication schedule. This makes for an easy reference and reminder for all the things you are doing.
- Programmable alarms can be set to alarm multiple times a day to remind you of when you should be taking your medications.
- If you use a smart phone, there are many “apps” designed to alert you when you are to take your medications.
- Automated pill machines are available which can be programmed to schedule and deliver medications. They are locked after they have been filled, and sound an alert when the medication is due. The user simply pushes a button and the medication is dispensed. Some also come with caregiver alerts that will alert to missed doses and when the medication unit needs refilling.
As one of the many benefits of CalaCare’s Personal Care Services, we can help with medication safety and education, along with a wide range of services tailored to your individual needs.