Be Informed on Elderly Medications & Schedules
Families and caregivers should familiarize themselves with ALL elder medications. Knowing the purpose of each drug can help you to understand and be alert to dosage, schedule, and medical need. Does it address blood pressure, or anxiety? Is it to assist bodily processes relating to digestion and bowels? Or is it a blood thinner?
Be certain to notify each doctor who has any dealings with your elderly parents. Many times, there are multiple medical professionals dealing within their expertise on one patient. They need to understand ALL the prescriptions involved, because chemically some drugs adversely effect other drugs. Please also include and make note of any over-the-counter products.
When my agency does a home assessment, we document any/all medications being currently prescribed. We list drug, dosage, and reasons. And we also make note of any over-the-counter vitamins, or any other daily pills. This provides full disclosure, in writing, for homecare staff and family to review or update. Best to have multiple people knowing about the med schedules.
You also need to understand possible side effects from medications. Does it cause fatigue, or bring on drowsiness? Certainly a bad combination for a senior who is driving. Is there a potential danger based on the current mix of medications? Your doctor also needs to be current on certain lifestyle choices, such as alcohol intake, nutrition, sleep habits, caffeine intake, and smoking. Create a list and write all this information down. Make copies and distribute within the house, or to family members.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164