Home > Prevention & Precautionary Steps For Seniors, Senior Activities, Hobbies & Lifestyle > Seniors Empowered By Taking Charge Of Their Prescription Medications

Seniors Empowered By Taking Charge Of Their Prescription Medications

November 7, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

There was a time when the family doctor was the one who administered routine injections. Since 2010, some things have changed. With the blessing of attending doctors, nurse practitioners and medical assistants, licensed vocational and registered nurses administer prescription medications and subcutaneous injections. One current safe medication practice recommended by the National Institute On Aging actually existed back then:

  • Remind your doctor or nurse about your allergies and any problems you have had with medicines, such as rashes, indigestion, dizziness, or mood changes.

It is never wise to assume that your healthcare provider will read your electronic chart accurately and not prescribe or administer a medication that you are allergic to. My doctor at the time walked into the examination room with the dreaded hypodermic needle in hand. As a matter of routine, I asked, “what kind of medication am I about to get?” The answer turned out to be, “penicillin”, and after checking my chart, the doctor looked stunned, apologized, and called his nurse to add yet another bright red allergy sticker to my chart. Although we like assume our healthcare providers are conscientious, they are human and therefore, not incapable of making errors.

Have you had enough yet? by ~Manics-MP on deviantART

Senior citizens frequently take a number of prescription medications and have a need to develop a system for taking them properly. A written list with the names of the medications, what they are for, and when they should be taken is imperative for the drugs’ effectiveness and safety of the senior patient. Seniors are more vulnerable to overdosing , taking the wrong medication, or forgetting to take a dose with the number of medicines they are required to take on a daily basis. Assisted Living as well as Board And Care Facilities help seniors with their medications so that they can prevent mistakes and dosage errors. Below are some precautionary measures for when you visit your primary care physician for a checkup.

What You Should Do At The Doctor’s Office:

  • Tell your doctor or nurse about all the medicines you take whenever a new drug is prescribed
  • Again, remind your doctor or nurse about your allergies and any problems you have had with medicines, such as rashes, indigestion, dizziness, or mood changes
  • Understand how to take the medicine before you start using it. Ask questions and write down the answers

If A New Medication Is Prescribed, Ask The Following Questions:

  • What is the name of the medicine, and why am I taking it?
  • How many times a day should it be taken? At what times? If the bottle says, take “4 times a day,” does that mean 4 times in 24 hours or 4 times during the daytime?
  • Should I take the medicine with or without food? Are there any food or beverages I should avoid while taking this medicine?
  • What does “as needed” mean?
  • When should I stop taking the medicine?
  • If I forget to take my medicine, what should I do?
  • What side effects can I expect? What should I do if I have a problem?

The pharmacist is also part of the healthcare team and can answer any questions you may have.  If you fill prescriptions at more than 1 pharmacy, inform the new pharmacist of all the medicines and over the counter drugs you take when you drop off your prescription. If you have trouble swallowing pills, there may be a liquid form of the medicine available. Do not chew, break, or crush tablets without first asking if the drug will still be effective. Make sure you can read and understand the name of the medicine and the directions on the container and the color coded warning stickers on the side of the bottle. If the label is hard to read, ask your pharmacist to use larger type.

Check to make sure you can open the container. If not, ask the pharmacist to put your medicines in bottles that are easier to open. Ask about special instructions on where to store the medication. For example, should it be kept in the refrigerator or in a dry place? Check the label on your medicine before leaving the pharmacy. It should have your name on it and the directions given by your doctor. If it does not, return it to the pharmacist. Keeping in mind that errors can and will be made, seniors can empower themselves by taking control over their medication regimen and reap the benefits that modern medicine can provide. The assistance of Assisted Livingand Nursing Home staff can help seniors take charge of their medicines.
800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living New York and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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