Medication for daily life has become a large part of the aging process in recent decades, and with it comes a need for extra care and attention. While medicines improve our quality of life in important ways, they can also present challenges for seniors - especially those with cognitive disorders or other impairments that may impact sight or fine motor skills. Here are a few items that caregivers and family members should check when it comes to seniors, prescriptions, and overall well-being.
- Expired medications. There are a few schools of thought when it comes to expiration dates, especially when it comes to food and over the counter medicines. Some toss everything in the trash as soon as the date is reached, and others follow a “I’ll be able to tell if it’s bad when it’s bad” approach. While there is merit to both sides when it comes to food, the same cannot be said about medications - especially prescription medication. For one, the potency over time will be affected in expired medications, and this could have an adverse impact on a patient. This might also mean that a senior is receiving improper dosages. Most important: some medications, like tetracycline, can become toxic after a certain amount of time, and therefore should definitely not be taken.
- Has a new prescription recently been added? Some medications are contraindicated, which means that they can adversely impact each other, or should not be mixed with certain foods, drinks, etc. In theory, people are forthcoming when they tell their doctors which medications or supplements they’re taking, and a good doctor will review all current prescriptions and see how new prescriptions may interact. But it never hurts to double check all the medications a person is prescribed or taking, and to ensure that no adverse reactions will result. This is one of the services our Registered Nurse Geriatric Care Managers can provide to families and seniors in home care.
- Will a recent prescription affect a person’s day-to-day capability? Side effects of some prescription and even over the counter medicines can include drowsiness, fatigue, altered balance, ability to drive, etc. It’s prudent to anticipate which symptoms could negatively impact a senior and coordinate for appropriate care. For instance, it may be more difficult for a senior to prepare his or her own meals while they’re taking certain medications, or they may be unable to drive themselves to appointments or scheduled outings.
- How are drugs being stored? Here are the basics: keep drugs out of the reach of children, keep medicines in a cool, dry place or as instructed by the doctor or manufacturer, and ensure that medicines are kept in their original packaging so that they are not mistaken for something else.
What are the benefits of in home care for seniors with multiple prescriptions?
In home care provides a very flexible capability to help a family as much or as little as needed based on a particular situation. Our caregivers can help seniors in home care with medication management, keeping track of multiple pills a day, assessing the combination of multiple drugs, and more. We also offer services that help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as meal preparation, bathing, toileting, dressing, light housekeeping, picking up groceries, driving to appointments, and even providing companionship.
At Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses, we pride ourselves on our compassionate, competent care, and we would be honored for the opportunity to serve your family. If you would like to learn more about our company and the services we offer, please visit our website, or call us at 610-359-1649. Thank you for reading!