Medication Management Tips for Older Adults Living on Their Own
by Anita Ginsburg
As people get older, they often are prescribed a variety of medicines to protect their health or to treat medical issues. Some older adults struggle with memory problems or physical impairments. They may have trouble remembering which medication to take or when to take it. Some might experience difficulty picking up prescriptions or getting them refilled when needed. The following tips can help older people manage their medicines safely and conveniently.
A printed schedule that can be kept on the kitchen counter or taped to the medicine cabinet can remind older adults to take their meds. A list of medications beside checkboxes with the days and times when they should be taken will serve as a visual reminder and an interactive way to check off each dose when taken. In addition to assisting elders with tracking medication use, the checklist allows family members and caregivers to see at a glance whether the medications are up to date and taken on time.
Relatives may want to take turns texting, calling or sending private messages on social media to remind older loved ones to take their medications. This can be done on a daily or random basis to help older family members not to forget a dose. A cute or funny code expression may be used to make light of the reminder while still being helpful. Family members can also pickup prescriptions or take an older relative to get a new medication when needed.
There are different kinds of pill containers, boxes or dispensers that let people organize daily or frequent pills or tablets for help in maintaining accurate usage. Some containers have initials for each day of the week on the lid while others are color-coded. The medicines could be stored in a convenient location, such as over the kitchen sink where the person normally gets a glass of water, to be readily available.
Many drugstore managers are supportive in helping to ensure that older adults get prescriptions filled and delivered in a timely manner. Some drugstores use an automatic recorded phone message to call and let someone know that a prescription is ready for pickup or to inquire if a refill will be needed. Delivery service for the prescription and other health care supplies may be available.
An older individual who is living alone and taking medicine may be helped by tips like these to manage their medications. Discuss options with your loved ones who may benefit from this type of assistance.