Staying on schedule with medications can be a challenge for seniors. It isn’t uncommon for older adults to have several prescription and over-the-counter medicines they take every day. Research shows that 41 percent of older adults take five or more daily medications. Trying to remember which ones to take when isn’t easy.
According to Pharmacy Times, almost half of the two billion prescriptions filled each year are incorrectly taken. That is a very sobering statistic, especially for those who live with serious health conditions.
Minimizing the Dangers Associated with Medication Mistakes
Mistakes managing medication are a leading cause of senior visits to the emergency room. According to the Institute of Medicine, 770,000 adults find themselves hospitalized every year because of a medication-related error.
The mistakes seniors make most often include the following:
- Failing to take a dose at the right time
- Taking too much or too little of a dose
- Forgetting to order refills
Tiny print on prescription bottles can be another challenge.
One way to help a senior family member stay on track is to establish a medication reminder system. There are a variety of ways to do this.
4 Medication Reminder Systems
1. Pill organizer: If your senior loved one’s pharmacy doesn’t set up prescriptions in blister pill packs, an inexpensive plastic pill organizer is easy to set up. You can purchase them in a variety of styles and sizes online or at your local pharmacy. The senior or a family member can refill the box each week.
Most are set up with morning and afternoon doses, although some have up to three or four sections per day. In addition to making it easier to know when to take each prescription, these organizers help identify which prescriptions need to be refilled.
2. Reminder calls: If you are concerned an older loved one won’t remember to take their medication even if you use a pill organizer, you could call or text a reminder. This is a simple way of keeping a senior safely on schedule and avoiding a medication error.
3. Medication reminder apps: Many older adults have smartphones that allow them to download apps. You can help them download a medication reminder app to use in conjunction with their pill organizer. Mango Health, Dosecast, and My Meds Medication Management are a few to consider.
4. Electronic pill dispensers: A high-tech solution for medication management is a wireless electronic pill organizer. These sound an alert or flash a light when it is time to take a dose. Some systems will even alert an emergency contact person if an older adult misses a dose.
Dedicated Care Managers at Sunrise
At Sunrise communities across the country, we know how important medication management is to resident wellbeing. That’s why each resident has a designated care manager. Among their many duties is making sure residents follow their medication dosage instructions. Visit the Sunrise community nearest you to learn more about how we can help you with medication management.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living
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