Medication Mismanagement Can Be Prevented

The following is an excerpt from an article that discusses medication management for seniors and their families. It originally appeared in the Discoverhometown newspaper in Waukesha, WI.

Failure to property manage medications can threaten the lives of seniors, highlighting the emphasis families must place on ensuring seniors take their medications in strict adherence to their physicians’ instructions. Taking multiple medications can be a potential health hazard for seniors who are being treated for multiple medical conditions.

Medication confusion is one risk, but older adults also metabolize medications differently than young people.  As a result, they may be more prone to overdose or other ill effects.

Families who want to help seniors effectively manage their medications should consider the following:

  • Keep a running list of medications including herbs and supplements. Provide a copy to all doctors.
  • Use pill sorters.
  • Understand why each medication is being prescribed. Ask the pharmacist and/or doctor to explain why each medication is prescribed.
  • Give help or ask for help if needed.
  • Recognize that not all medications are right for seniors.  The American Geriatrics
  • Society  (make hot link) maintains a list* of medications that older adults should avoid or take with extreme caution. Some drugs pose a high risk of side effects or interactions.  Discuss alternatives with the physician who prescribes the medication.
  • Keep a medication diary.  Record side effects that occur and reactions to medication.
  • Always bring up issues promptly with the physician.