Improper adherence to medications prescribed by your doctor can have unintended consequences. You will not receive the benefit expected or in the case of psychotropic drugs which must be weaned off slowly, you may experience a meltdown or become excessively emotional. In some cases, an older adult will forget that they have taken their medications and then double up. This can also cause a problem depending on the type of drug it is.
This all points to finding a means of managing prescriptions so they can be taken in a failsafe manner. As a Geriatric Care Manager, I often found upon visiting a home that medications were in a basket and spread from one end of the house to the other. Many times, the meds were no longer being taken because the doctor had prescribed something else. Their presence caused confusion about what they were actually supposed to be taking. Here are some tips that I offered to the older adult and their families or caregiver:
- Organize a list of all the medications, dosages and who prescribed them.
- Get rid of any medications you are no longer taking. Many police stations will dispose of unwanted drugs. Do not flush down the toilet!
- Find a means of organizing the taking of the medications. The drug store often has a number of options depending on how often the drugs are taken during the day and how many are being taken.
- When an older adult is taking many medications, find a product that is failsafe. Many older adults when they get to their 80’s are unable to take their medications themselves without assistance.
- Check with your pharmacist about any duplications of drugs or contraindicated drugs that may be on the list. Pharmaconsultants will evaluate all of the meds and recommend which ones should be discontinued or may be posing problems that you should discuss with your physician.
Here is a link to one such product that can be helpful in administering medications safely! Medication Dispenser demonstration