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Managing Medications

When performing caregiving for family members, life can become chaotic and confusing. Many aging adults have a variety of medical conditions that require multiple medications. In addition, many senior patients may also be on a regimen of nutritional supplements. With multiple medications, possibly taken at different times of the day, medication management can become confusing.

When medication management becomes confusing for the caregiver, risks of overdose, side effects, and even death increase. Here are some tips to keep up with medication schedules.

Make a calendar or chart – A calendar or chart allows you to monitor medication in daily and hourly increments. This can be effective for patients who are capable of taking their own medications when needed, just not being able to organize them. With a chart everyone can be on the same page.

Use a pill organizer – These handy gadgets are generally broken up by day and are portable. Pill boxes are available in standard and larger sizes, and some have special sections for time of day.

Keep records – Always keep records of prescribed dosage amounts, symptoms of medication reactions, the prescribing physician’s name, and side effects in one convenient place. Records ensure consistent practice between family caregivers and any hired caregiving help. In addition, it allows the primary caregiver to monitor the medication changes, side effects, and which medications may mix with others.

Emergency records – Keep a record of all physicians by specialty. Also, include phone numbers, addresses, and a list of medications they have prescribed the patient. This type of record can also hold emergency contact information, extended family numbers, anything that you may need in a hurry. If additional help is utilized, these records can be a great way to make important information available to them.

Know your pharmacist – Pharmacists know best about drug interactions, dosage limitations, side effects, and are a great support when educating oneself on the combination of pills. Together you can formulate a medication plan that will work best for your loved one.

Monitor everything – Knowing what to look for is the best way to handle medication overdose, unnecessary medications, and medication side effects. This is time consuming and stressful, but if other medication management tips are followed, should become relatively easy over time. If any concern rises always speak with the prescribing physician, you know your loved one best and will be able to tell when something is not right.