Medication Safety in the Elderly
Medications play a huge role in healthcare as we grow older. People are more likely to develop chronic illnesses with advancing age but can have longer, fuller lives with the appropriate medications. Medication safety becomes very important to us and our loved ones! Here are a few tips to help make our lives safer as we advance in age.
- Always take all your medications with you to your doctor appointments. Your doctor needs to be aware of all medications you are taking (even over-the-counter medications, including vitamins). As we age our bodies change which causes absorption of medication to be different from when we were younger. Age related changes in our liver, kidneys, heart, and nervous system can contribute to being more vulnerable to overdoses and side effects.
- Keep a list of your medications with you at all times in case of emergency.
- Have a trusted Pharmacy or Pharmacist, and make sure they have an updated list of your medications.
- When bringing in a new prescription make sure that the instructions the doctor gave you are the same that are printed on your bottle.It seems that in a matter of days the things we can see with the naked eye lessens and we begin to rely on eyeglasses! Your pharmacist can be a LIFESAVER! Ask for large print labels on your prescriptions.
- If a medication you normally take is a different color or shape, ask if this is the correct medicine.
- Our memory also tends to fail us as we age. Once again the pharmacist can help by directing you to special pill boxes and other aids that can help remind you to take your medicine.
- Take your medications as prescribed! do not skip doses or stop a medication with our consulting your physician first. If you have concerns about side effects or other questions talk with your doctor.
- Keep your medications in a dry, well-lit area. Many times your medications will indicate how to store them on the label. Medications kept in the bathroom can sometimes have too much moisture. Keep medications out of reach of children. There are several medication safes on the market that can be recommended by your pharmacist if these are concerns.
As a Home Health provider, we find that these are common problems in the home. We hope that everyone can manage their health at home with ease. If you or your family is having problems in these areas, ask your health provider if home health is an option for you!
– Kim Umphries, Physician Liaison
Professional Home Health of Springhill
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