Medicine Safety & the Elderly: Tips to Follow

Many elderly people take medications for all kinds of conditions. But sometimes taking medicines can cause problems. Your elderly relative may be confused by which medications to take and when, and this can cause safety issues. Here are some tips to follow to ensure your elderly relative takes their medicines safely.

Use a Pill Dispenser

If your relative takes a particular medication once or twice a day, invest in a weekly pill dispenser and place one pill in each compartment. That way they will know whether they have taken the pill or not each day by simply looking at the box.

This can also help if your relative has difficulty opening the bottle or breaking the tablets. Prepare their pills for them each week and they will find taking their medication a lot easier.

Read the Prescription Yourself

Ask to see the prescription and the details on the medicine packet yourself as this can help to avoid any confusion. You will then know exactly how much they should be taking.

Create a List of All the Medications

Take a sheet of paper and list the different medications your relative takes, and create a chart of when each one should be taken each day. Make it as simple as possible, and ensure it is easy to follow.

Taking the wrong medications, or taking a medication too frequently, can be dangerous. Using a list, your relative can check what they need to take to avoid any confusion. This can be particularly useful if the instructions in the medication are written in small type or are unclear.

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Another advantage of this is that if your relative needs to go into hospital, you can take the list in to provide doctors with a clear guide to the medications they are currently taking.

Plan Trips for Repeat Prescriptions

If your relative has a repeat prescription, keep a close eye on how much medication they have left, otherwise they may run out without realising it. Plan visits to the doctor well in advance, and make the appointments yourself if necessary.

Stick to the Same Pharmacy

Recommend sticking to one pharmacy so that the people who work there will recognise your relative. They will know the types of problems your relative has and the medications they take, and this will also be more comfortable for your relative if they want to ask any questions.

Look Out for Warning Signs

Be on the lookout for any signs that medications are having an adverse affect on your relative. This is especially important if they start taking a new medication.

If they are becoming slower, more forgetful, or they fall over, these could be signs of an issue. They may not be related to the medication, but at least you can then check with the doctor.

Help Your Relative with Their Medications

Follow these tips to help your elderly relative take their medications without any difficulties. You may also want to provide instructions to their care worker, and at Comfort Keepers all of our carers are able to provide assistance with basic medications.