If you haven’t done a recent review of your senior loved one’s medications, there’s no better time than now. To help you get started, here’s a medication checklist for caregivers and family members.
Keep an Updated List of All Medications
Whether your loved one takes one pill a day or a combination of different medications, it’s important to know what each prescription is for and when medications need to be taken. Keep an updated list of medications handy, and consider an electronic version that can be forwarded to family members and anyone else involved with your loved one’s care. The list should include:
- Names of all medications
- Prescribed dosage
- What each medication is for
- Any special instructions associated with each medication (e.g., take with a glass of juice)
Some older adults may be taking medications for more than one health issue. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. Rockwall families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Check the Beers List and Consider STOPP/START Criteria
The American Geriatric Society presents an updated list of potentially unsuitable medications for older adults referred to as the Beers List. The purpose of the list is to prevent potential drug interactions and reduce the dependence on medications that may have more negative than positive benefits. A more recent screening tool, the STOPP/START criteria (Screening Tool in Older Persons for Potentially Inappropriate Prescriptions/Screening Tool to Alert Doctors to the Right Treatment), can be used with the Beers List for more comprehensive guidance. A pharmacist can help you understand both the list and the criteria.
Determine if the Purpose for the Medication Still Exists
Many medications seniors take are meant to control specific symptoms, such as mood, appetite issues, and pain. Pay particular attention to the symptom(s) each medication is supposed to be addressing. If those symptoms no longer exist, initiate a discussion with your loved one’s doctor to determine whether or not those medications can be either reduced in dosage or discontinued all together.
Look for Signs of Overmedicating
There’s a tendency among doctors to overmedicate when it comes to treating conditions common among seniors, including diabetes-related conditions like high blood pressure. For instance, a high dosage of blood pressure medication can cause drops in blood pressure that may result in dizziness and increase the risk of falling while standing or walking. Consider going to the doctor with your loved one to develop a better understanding of how your loved one’s conditions are being treated, and discuss any concerns you may have about overmedicating. Signs of overmedicating in seniors may include:
- Increased fatigue/oversleeping
- Erratic or unexplained behavior (not related to an existing condition)
- Unusual physical symptoms (sometimes caused by higher dosages of medications)
A professional caregiver can assist with medication management to keep your loved one safe. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of senior care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
Clearly Organize All Medications
Seniors are also prone to overmedicating or undermedicating due to accidentally doubling dosages or skipping dosages. Using pill organizers can make it easier to remember which pills to take at specific times. Consider the following medication organization tips:
- Make an easy-to-read chart with all medications clearly listed
- Provide gentle reminders to your loved one
- Periodically go through medicine cabinets and drawers to get rid of expired medications
Some families may not have the time to help their loved ones every day with managing medications and other daily tasks. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Rockwall, TX, families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation. Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call (972) 722-7833 today to speak with one of our qualified Care Managers.