Managing prescription drugs can be difficult and even risky for seniors with memory issues, particularly if they live alone. Their risk for drug-related problems increases further as they age or take additional medications.
Survey results released by AARP have shown that 80 percent of Americans ages 65 and older take at least two prescription drugs. More than half take four or more, with some seniors taking more than 10 medications each day.
If not monitored closely, drug usage of that magnitude can result in medication errors, drug interactions, allergic reactions and overdoses. All of these can become medical emergencies.
Seven tips for preventing medication errors
Research has shown that seniors most at risk for medication mishaps are in one or more of these situations: have impaired cognitive function or vision, live alone, are 75 or older, take at least three medications or doses daily or have more than one prescribing physician.
These tips from the Alzheimer’s Association can be helpful to anyone, but they are particularly essential for family members of seniors with dementia.
- Be sure all prescribers know of all prescription and non-prescription drugs being taken.
- Ask the physician or pharmacist if a new prescription interacts with any other drugs.
- Know details of each drug taken, including name, purpose, dosage, frequency and side effects.
- Take only as directed. Address any concerns about the medication with the prescribing doctor.
- Ask the physician if the drug comes in another form if swallowing pills is a problem.
- Keep and carry a written record of all current medications.
- Use a pill box organizer to help ensure the right pills are taken at the right times.
Also, make certain that medications are stored properly, have not expired and are refilled when necessary.
Our assisted living and memory care services assist seniors with their meds
At Country Meadows Retirement Communities, we understand that taking medications can become complicated and confusing. That’s why we have a professionally trained health care staff to assist residents with their daily pill-taking regimens. Plus, we have an onsite 24-hour nursing team monitoring residents to ensure no reactions or side effects and help avoid hospital re-admissions.
Residents in our personal care and assisted living facilities can receive daily one-on-one assistance with medication management, as well as other personal needs, such as dressing, bathing, eating, hair care and brushing teeth.
For residents who are seriously challenged by memory loss and confusion, Connections Memory Support Services at Country Meadows provides them with memory care, including cognitive and physical exercises and emotional support.
If you are in the process of choosing a retirement community, we would like to introduce you to the services that Country Meadows can provide for you or your loved one. Please let us know if you would like to visit any of our 11 retirement communities in Pennsylvania or Maryland. We invite you to contact us to learn more about senior apartments at our personal care and assisted living facilities or our Connections Memory Support Services.
To learn more about personal care, assisted living care and other levels of senior care, get our guide, “Navigating the Maze of Senior Living Options.” For more information on our memory support services, get our guide, “Understanding Dementia’s Effects on Your Loved One and Family.” You can also pick up these guides at any Country Meadows community.