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Importance of Managing Medications for Elderly Safety

Elderly Medication

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Did you know that on average individuals 65 to 69 years old take nearly 14 prescriptions per year, and individuals aged 80 to 84 take an average of 18 prescriptions per year? Additionally, adverse drug reactions and noncompliance are responsible for 28% of hospitalizations of the elderly (Source: Food and Drug Administration Report 1996).  

Aging brings on more health concerns, the possibility of chronic diseases, and more possible illnesses. As aging adults visit their doctors they are prescribed more medications, and each medication has a purpose to help manage their health. It can be daunting to manage those prescriptions and remember the rules around each one. Some may require that you take with food, some may say take before your meal. Some prescriptions say take with a full glass of water, and some say to not eat certain foods at all while taking the medication. Each prescription is different and may impact how you feel, or cause you to go to the hospital if you take it incorrectly.

If your loved one is struggling with medication management we suggest a few helpful tips:

  • Use a Medicine Organizer. Find a medicine organizer to help sort out medications a week in advance. These can be purchased online or in a local drug store. One company, Sabi, even created a unique product that can help with pill storage, splitting, and crushing. Find one that works best for your loved one, they can vary one pill holder per day or several slots for the day for morning or evening. If you are caring for your loved one, you might rest easier if you were to help them sort their medicine at the beginning of each week knowing that they have a medication organizer rather than a cupboard full of pill bottles.
  • Create an Organized List or Calendar. Find a large calendar or list that can be created for your loved one to follow daily. Write down the medicine, time of day, dosage, and requirements on the list. This list may also be helpful in case someone else is taking care of your loved one or in case of emergencies.
  • Set Alarm Reminders. Help your loved one out with phone alerts. You can set alarms at specific times of the day with messages for your loved one to take their medication. Phone alarm apps can be very useful in setting repeat alarms, alarms with notes, and dismiss settings making sure that the person has not ignored their alarm notification.
  • Keep a Medicine Diary. Many people keep food diaries to help track their calories, help track if they have allergies to foods, and to make sure they are getting the proper nutrients. Holding your loved one accountable to jotting down all of the medicines they took, what time they took them, and the dosage can help you know whether they are staying on top of their medicine regimen or not.
  • Hire a Caregiver. The safest option may be for you to hire someone who can assist with medication organization and reminders. We help thousands of families remain at peace knowing that someone is making sure their loved one is taking medications at the right time, and at the right dosage. We have certified nursing assistants who can help with organizing your loved one’s medications and will let them know when it is appropriate to take those medications. If your loved one needs help with actually administering the medication we can also assign this as a nurse delegated task to safely administer medicine to your loved one.

Unfortunately mistakes in medication administration are responsible for 38% of all medication-related errors, leading to a minimum of 7,000 deaths per year, according to the ALARIS Center for Medication Safety and Clinical Improvement. This is a pretty shocking number considering some of us miss our medications all the time and don’t think twice about it. It shows the importance of medication for aging adults and the significance of making sure that both you and your loved one understand how each medication impacts their health, how often it needs to be taken, and the requirements to follow.

It is always best to be cautious with your loved ones and make sure that they are at a place where they can be top of mind, otherwise it might be time for them to receive some additional assistance to make sure they are carefully taking their medicines.

We encourage you to learn more about Fedelta Home Care and how we might have the perfect solution for you to care for your loved one. Once a client you can view your loved one’s medicine plan online in the Fedelta Family Room, or maybe you are interested in a short-shift option available to receive 90 or 120 minutes of care a day to include a medication reminder. 

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