Prescription medication is part of daily life for the vast majority of older adults. In fact, more than 80 percent of those between the ages fifty-seven and eighty-five take at least one prescribed pill a day. For more than half of that age group, five or more pills are on the calendar every day. Keeping up with all that medication can be a difficult task, but it’s incredibly important that medication is managed well.
Medication prescribed by a doctor is meant to ease any ailments you’re facing, and unsafe medication practices can put you at risk. Medication management services can be a great way to increase your own safety, but there are a few smaller things you can do each day to keep yourself on track.
Use Medication Management Solutions
Any new daily habit takes time to adjust to, so using tools to help you with that adjustment can help you to avoid mismanagement. A pillbox can be a big help, especially if you take multiple doses throughout the day. You can also use medication management solutions like pill reminder apps or sign up for medication management services if you’re in an assisted living community.
Pay Close Attention to Interactions
Often it isn’t about the medication you’re taking at the moment, but how it interacts with whatever else you have in your system. Make sure your physician and pharmacist are both aware of the other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs like allergy and pain medication. Pay close attention to any warnings on labels and boxes, and use services like WebMD’s and CVS’s drug interaction checkers. Inform yourself of what substances should be avoided, like alcohol and caffeine when adding a new medication to your pillbox.
Understand Your Own Medications
The truth is, no one knows your body as you do. Your healthcare providers will use their own expertise to diagnose and issue treatment, but you’ll need to serve as your own advocate, as well. Read as much as you can about your condition, as well as the medication you’re taking. Medical professionals see many patients a day and may miss something important, like another medication you’re on that may interact with what they’ve just prescribed.
Properly Store Medication
You’ve probably noticed that many medications instruct you to store them in a cool, dry place. Moisture and heat can damage medications, making them less potent. That means, without you realizing it, your condition may not be getting the treatment you need. Conventional thinking had consumers storing pill bottles in the medicine cabinet, but those are typically located in the bathroom, where moisture from showers and baths make them anything but protected.
If you’re on one or more medications, it’s important to have a plan in place to keep you on track. With the right system, you’ll be able to enjoy your day without stressing over whether you’ve missed a dose – or taken a dose too many.