When you get older, taking medication ends up being an important part of your life. According to the Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, 87% of seniors have one prescription, 36% have five or more, and 38% have over-the-counter medications. In order to avoid mistakes like taking the wrong drug, missing doses, or accidentally taking more than prescribed, it is best to manage your medications.
You can first keep all of your medications, vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and supplements in one location to not lose track of them like your kitchen, bedside table, or your medicine cabinet. That way, you can see exactly what is being taken and to make sure none of your medications are expired. You can keep the ones you currently take in a separate bin and your backup pills in a separate bin. A second thing to do is to make a list of medications that feature their names, how often they are taken, the dosage, the healthcare provider of each medication, what their purpose and/or symptoms are, and whether the pills are short-term or long-term. A pill organizer is helpful to pre-sort your medications for the week and you can split your pills ahead of time.
Make sure to double check your pill box to make sure there are no serious negative interactions. Check the instructions to prevent negative drug interactions, side effects, or losing the effectiveness of them. Figure out which medications you need to take together or separately and whether you take them on a full or empty stomach. You can also create a chart with the name of the medication, dose, day, and time to know what doses were not missed. You can use cell phone alarms, medication management apps or an alarm clock to remind you when to take your pills. Speak to your doctor about side effects like falling, an upset stomach, pain or weakness, etc. If you have dementia or Alzheimer’s, get a nurse, friend, or relative to help you manage your medication.
It can also be helpful to ask your doctor to prescribe a 90-day supply mail order and to re-order every few months. Pharmacies have automatic refills when they are ready for pick up. Mark your refill dates on a calendar to order a refill and pick it up before you need it. By being mindful of your medication, you will not have to worry about accidental overdoses.
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