It can be a difficult task to keep track of all the medication that seniors need to take. Between diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems, arthritis, and pain, the list of pills that a senior loved one needs to take seems to go on forever. Working with their attending physician and pharmacist can keep these medications in check to prevent negative effects on their health. Families and caregivers are then responsible for ensuring that their elderly patient takes medicine on time every day, which can be made easier with the help of a medication log app.
Here are the basic aspects of managing medication for seniors that both older adults and family caregivers should be well aware of.
More Prescriptions Are More Difficult to Manage
Seniors are often given a cocktail of medications, something that doctors have come to call “polypharmacy.” While each type of medicine treats an ailment, too many can be maladaptive to the health of your senior loved one. This can bring about even more health issues, thus perpetuating the cycle of more drugs. However, taking many medications may not be absolutely necessary, especially since they can interfere with an older adult’s ability to function overall. By taking only the essentials and finding ways to manage other symptoms, medicine logs will be more streamlined with a regular schedule that is much easier to follow.
Medication Management Should Start with a Review
Remember that too much of a good thing can be bad, and in the case of seniors, too many prescribed medications can lead to worse outcomes such as overdose. This prescribing cascade might look something like this: an older adult takes new pills for arthritis pain, then their gall bladder requires another pain medication. Since dental surgery is required too, another painkiller is prescribed. These pills can add up without the patient realizing it, so a review should be conducted by either the doctor, the pharmacist, or both. Be thorough in asking these medical professionals what each medicine’s purpose is, including the vitamins and supplements your senior loved one is taking. This is also where apps for taking medicine come in handy.
Develop a Medication Management System
Some might think something along the lines of, “Taking medication? How hard can it be?” Surprisingly, it can be quite challenging, especially for seniors! Each prescription comes with its own set of directions and conditions. While one pill might need to be taken every morning with breakfast, a doctor might instruct an older adult to take another twice a day on an empty stomach three times a week. Add vision loss or memory issues to the mix, and taking medications can be even more difficult. Work on a system with your senior’s doctor and pharmacist and use the appropriate technology to keep track of the correct dosages at the right time.
Medication Management as a Challenge
Family caregivers have a tremendous responsibility in looking after their senior loved ones. One of the biggest tasks they face is keeping track of the multiple medications daily. These caregivers’ key burdens include ambiguity on the purpose of medications, inconsistent healthcare providers, and exclusion from doctors’ instructions and decisions. Doctors should continue to consider how their senior patients will manage the medications prescribed to them rather, making the human side of medicine their utmost priority.
Keeping track of several medications and supplements is difficult enough as an adult, so what more a senior who needs to treat so many more ailments? Family caregivers should prioritize the patient’s overall health and well-being, including their experience in taking medications. Some pills may be redundant while others clash. Keeping track of everything using the right medication tracking software is especially important, and collaborating closely with doctors and pharmacists is paramount. By doing so, older adults can simplify their routines and enjoy life a little more without the extra burden of more pills.
At MedManage, we offer medication management systems for patients and caregivers. We enable the tracking of common tasks such as maintaining daily med log tracking through digital means. To remember, store, and share medication status and history more easily, get in touch with us today!