How to Reduce the Risk of Medication Mishaps in the Elderly

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Many seniors manage multiple prescriptions, which could increase the risk of making a medication error. Older adults often forget to take the correct dosage at the right time, which puts their health in jeopardy. Here are some of the steps family caregivers can take to help their aging loved ones prevent medication mishaps.

Invest in Pill Organizers

Most pill organizers are labeled with the letter of each day, such as M for Mondays. Place the proper medications in each slot of the pill dispenser, and make sure your loved one takes the correct prescription on the right day of the week. If you fear your parent may take the medication ahead of schedule, you can fill the dispensing device once per day. Limiting access to the prescription bottle could prevent dangerous medication mishaps. Clean the device regularly and make sure to keep it out of reach from children. 

Older adults who need help managing their medications can benefit from professional in-home care. In Clearwater, elder care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Use Medication Management Apps

There are several apps that allow seniors to set up alerts on their smartphones, computers, tablets, and other web-enabled devices. Some medication apps beep when it’s time to take a medicine, while others display or read aloud the name of the prescription, dosage amount, and other important information pertaining to the medication, such as taking the prescription with food. You can access these apps to know exactly when a particular medicine has been taken. If your loved one forgets to take the medication, you can call and remind him or her.

Stick to One Pharmacy

Medication mishaps can take place outside of the home as well, which is why aging adults need to be extra careful when managing their prescriptions. Encourage your loved one to use one pharmacy to reduce the risk of prescription errors. It can be difficult to remember which prescription needs to be picked up when seniors are using multiple pharmacies. The staff at the local pharmacy might remember your parent on a first-name basis, making the drop-offs and pickups easier. Check with local pharmacies in your loved one’s community to see who offers the best inventory, most affordable prices, friendliest service, and close proximity. 

Assisting older adults with medication management can be a challenging task for overworked caregivers. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Clearwater, Florida, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Document Everything

One of the best ways to prevent medication mistakes is to write down the times the prescriptions were taken, the dosages, and any immediate effects. Before your loved one takes another dose, he or she should refer to the daily medication log and verify previous caregiver notes. A proper medication log also includes the prescription name and label. Your parent should write down every detail of the medicine inside of the log to prevent dangerous mishaps, including taking expired prescriptions and overmedicating.

Hiring a professional caregiver is a good way to make sure your parent receives help with medication management and other important tasks. Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated elder care, Clearwater, Florida, families can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise. Call one of our professional Care Managers at (727) 330-7862 to schedule a free in-home consultation.