Each year, approximately 100,000 reports of medication errors are submitted to the FDA. Taking medications correctly is critical. When someone uses drugs the wrong way, it may lead to hospitalization or seriously impact the health.
If you worry about your mom taking her medications correctly, you're not alone. Older adults may have a more challenging time reading the fine print on a label, remembering when and how to take their prescriptions, or managing the side effects.
Make sure your mom takes her prescriptions correctly. From knowing when to take them to understanding how to take them, these are the areas to discuss with her.
Ask Where She Gets Her Prescriptions Filled
Have your mom use one pharmacy. If she goes to multiple pharmacies, the new pharmacist may not receive records of your mom being on a specific medication that conflicts with one another doctor has prescribed.
For example, your mom's general practitioner has her on an anti-anxiety medication to ease the panic attacks she's been having. Your mom's memory care doctor prescribes an antipsychotic to help her with sundowning.
She's using different pharmacies, so the pharmacists are unaware that these drugs are being taken. Those two medications may not be safe to take together. If she uses one pharmacy, the pharmacist can verify that it's safe for her to have both.
Talk About Possible Interactions
Ensure your mom understands the foods and over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and supplements that interact with her prescriptions. For example, she may want to take St. John's Wort to help ease mild depression. If she's on a blood thinner, it can reduce the effectiveness of her prescription.
Ask the pharmacist or doctor for known interactions. Do your research and make sure you're aware of the do's and don'ts.
Read the Instructions With Her
Go over the prescription paperwork with her. Make sure you note when she should take it. If the instructions say to take it on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning is best. If the instructions say your mom must take it with food, she needs to take it during her meal.
Create a Way for Her to Check That She's Taken Them
Make sure your mom has a way to mark that she's taken all of her daily medications. A dry erase board with a to-do list is one option. If she uses a cellphone, a reminder app on that phone will help. As soon as she takes her pills, she needs to cross it off or tap on her phone that she took them.
Arrange Medication Reminder Services
Does your mom often forget if she's taken her medications or not? While a pill organizer can help, medication reminders from a professional caregiver are getting. The caregiver is there to remind your mom to take her pills, watch her take them, and monitor her for side effects.
To arrange medication reminders, call a home care specialist. Discuss the medications your mom takes and how often she has to take them. The home care agency arranges caregivers at the best schedule to meet your mom's budget and requirements.