Medication Management: Overcoming Common Obstacles

Posted on: January 4th, 2013 by CareNet Inc Admin

Has a senior loved one ever said something like, “I feel fine. I don’t think I need that medication any more,” or “I think I took my pill this morning?” Older adults often face some common obstacles when it comes to properly managing their medication. The following tips can help you and your loved one overcome these barriers and get on the path to better health.

Memory Loss: A major issue when it comes to medication adherence among elderly individuals is memory loss. People with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may forget to take their medications or even take multiple doses, having forgotten that they took the medication earlier. Tip: Make taking medication a part of another daily routine, using pill dispensers and/or charts to stay organized.

Difficulty Swallowing Pills: Some older adults have difficulty swallowing, and may attempt to chew or crush pills, causing long-acting medications to be released into the body too quickly. Tip: Talk to the person’s doctor or pharmacist to find out if the medicine is available in a liquid or smaller tablet form that is easier to swallow.

Vision Problems: A senior with impaired vision may find it difficult to read the directions on a pill bottle or distinguish between pills, leading to possible incorrect dosage and use. Tip: Request medication labels in a large print size or purchase a pill bottle magnifier. Electronic devices are also available, such as “talking pill bottles,” which play recorded messages of the instructions on the pill bottle.

Income: Seniors who can’t afford medications may split pills, cut back the dose, or go without for long stretches of time. Tip: Ask the pharmacy about discount programs or if a generic drug or another brand in the same drug class is available at a lower cost.

A professional in-home caregiver can provide gentle medication reminders and can also pick up prescriptions and communicate with physicians about the senior’s medication regimen. Contact CareNet’s expert in-home caregivers in Anchorage for more tips on proper medication management or to find out about our home care services.

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