As caregivers, we have front-line responsibility to manage medication for others. Oftentimes senior citizens have multiple doctors utilized for the variety of physical, mental, and emotional needs they encounter late in life. With multiple physicians, and multiple symptoms, seniors have the potential to be over medicated. I was in a seminar where a physician quoted a medical journal stating that, “if anyone is taking eight or more medications there is a very high probability that adverse medication interactions are occurring.” Some things that we “non-physicians” can do to monitor medication usage, and possibly alert the medical professionals are to identify where double dosing seems to be prescribed or OTC medications might be problematic in individual’s regimen:
When we become caregivers for our loved ones we should be more aware of their medications and dosages they are prescribed. Keep a list of medications they are taking including over the counter medications and supplements.
Another thing to be aware of is the effect the combinations of medicines may have on a person. Do not be afraid to speak up and ask your family physician any questions or bring to their attention concerns you may have about a medication regimen or any additional prescriptions.
Always check with a doctor before adding any additional medication to a person's routine. Be aware that even over the counter medicines can have dangerous effects due to potential adverse medication interactions.
Never give a medication that is not prescribed to the individual… it is illegal. Furthermore if you substitute a similar medication or the same medication but different dosage it can be a life threatening decision. If your loved one runs out of their medicine contact their physician immediately or if unable to contact their physician speak with a pharmacist who may be able to share an emergency supply until you are able to meet with a physician again.
Our loved ones trust us to help them make the best choices. Let's be that second line of caution by being observant while assisting our seniors with their medications.
If you have any questions regarding medication management for your loved one please contact Bel Aire Senior Living today. We would love to help you ease the care giving burden by responding to your questions and concerns.