When it comes to eldercare, medication safety is an important topic. Each year, hundreds of seniors are admitted to emergency rooms due to an accident with prescription medication, and these accidents are all preventable. Because seniors typically have a range of prescription and over-the-counter medication in the cupboards, accidents can easily happen. If you are a family caregiver, here are some tips for managing medications in the home:
- Ensure they only have access to prescription medications that were prescribed to them.
- Always follow the instructions and dosage, especially for pain medications.
- Never share prescription drugs.
- Clearly mark specific instructions, such as ‘take with food’ or ‘do not take with food’. If they are taking a lot of different medications, it’s best to split these two groups up.
- Frequently check for out of date medications, and discard them immediately.
- Keep medications in their original containers. Taking them out to put in your own system runs the risk of mixing them up, or not knowing what each does.
- Create a calendar, or if you use a smartphone, set up alerts to clearly outline which medications must be taken at what time.
- If they are having any difficulty with labels or reminders, take responsibility for offering their daily medications.
If you fear a senior loved one is having an ill reaction to medication, seek emergency help immediately.