For the average person, it is difficult to keep track of medications but for seniors this is quite overwhelming. Statistics show that Americans age 65 to 69 take an average of 14 medications annually; and seniors age 80 to 84 take on average 18 medications per year. Even as a caregiver, managing a loved one’s medication is a stressful and time-consuming task. Here are a few simple tips on how to help your in-home care professional keep medication organized so that your family member takes their medicine as scheduled and according to the specified dosage.
1. Ask your pharmacy for blister packs instead of bottles.
Most pharmacies are able to put your medication in blister packs so that you can easily pop out the prescribed pill, instead of twisting a bottle cap. This also minimizes medication spills, which happen frequently. The last thing you want to do is spill the medication and miss picking up a pill that is accidentally ingested at the wrong time. Sometimes you’ll also find numbering on the blister packs, which makes it even easier to track dosages.
2. Use different pillbox colors.
When receiving in-home care support, you should color coordinated the pillboxes based on days or by day and night dosages. You can use a pink pillbox for the daytime and blue for nighttime. This decreases the confusion when it comes to taking the right medication on the right day and at the right time.
3. Keep medication in a distinct place.
This is particularly helpful if multiple people in the household are on medications. For seniors, it is a good idea to designate a specific place where their medication is stored. You don’t want your loved one to grab the wrong medication, so keep theirs in a special place just for them. This is extremely useful for seniors who suffer from mild to severe memory loss.
4. Set an alarm.
Does your family member need a reminder on when to take their medication? If so, make an alarm clock, cell phone, or wristwatch available to your in-home care professional to set the time when your loved one should take their medicine. This back-up method can help ensure that a dose is not skipped or missed.
5. Get a computerized medication dispenser.
If your loved one is still having trouble keeping track of their medication, it is wise to invest in a computerized or digital pill dispenser that you can program. With these devices, an alert will go off and at the push of a button it dispenses the right medication. The computerized dispenser will also let you know when your loved one missed a dosage or did not take it according to schedule.
If you are concerned about your family member managing their medication appropriately, these are some great strategies to implement so that your loved one stays out of the hospital and complies with the doctor’s orders. For more information visit Capital City Nurses
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