Safe Medication Management
As we age and move into our retirement years, we’re bound to be more focused on our health, which often means prescription medications, vitamins, and supplements. Effectively managing our medications will help ensure that the intended effect is achieved for treating our symptoms or health conditions. It’s also an important way to protect our health and safety, given that over or under dosing on medications can have dangerous consequences. Following the tips and best practices for safe medication management will help you to avoid some of the most common medication mistakes for older adults.
Establishing a routine and sticking to it is one of the best things you can do to ensure proper medication management. Taking your meds at the same time every day is an important aspect of medication. This approach is recommended most often for maximum efficiency, so it’s to your advantage to take them at regular intervals for your health. Beyond this obvious benefit, when taking medication becomes a habit, then you will be far less likely to forget doses or accidentally take multiple doses. If you have multiple medications that you take throughout the day, then setting alarms on your phone or other devices, or a pill organizer with compartments for different times of the day can help you to stay organized and on top of it.
Make sure to stick to your prescriptions as well. The dosage you take and the instructions for your medications are calculated by your health care providers based on many different factors. Adjusting any of your medications without consulting with your doctor can create a wide range of side effects and other issues, so even if you feel as though the medication is not working, you should continue to take it as prescribed until you are able to speak with your doctor and get told otherwise. If you have any questions or concerns about a medication or feel that it’s not working out for you, get in touch with your doctor right away to discuss your concerns and options.
As you find yourself taking more and more medications, you may find that keeping track of all the different names, doses, and intervals for each of them gets harder and harder. An important tool for seniors in medication management is a list that includes all the medicines that you take, what each one is for, what the dosage is, and how frequently you should take it. It is also a good idea to include the name of the doctor who prescribed it, as well as the dates for your upcoming refills.
The medication list is a valuable tool, especially for those of us with multiple doctors or specialists, as it allows them to know what you’re taking that was prescribed by other doctors. This will also protect you from the possibility of any harmful drug interactions, and you should also be aware of any possible interactions from lifestyle factors, such as certain foods or supplements or alcohol consumption.
Medicines should also be stored safely, so that pets and children are protected from accidentally ingesting it, and make sure to regularly check labels to avoid taking any expired medicines.