Medication Management for Senior Caregivers
Medication management is inarguably one of the most challenging and important responsibilities that today’s senior caregivers must deal with. When it comes to caring for a senior loved one, nothing is as important as making sure that they are taking the right medications at the right time. Failing to do so can cause a number of serious and even fatal consequences. As a care provider, it is very important to pay close attention to a senior’s medication information, dosage amount and what they should be taking their medication with.
While it may be a great deal of responsibility, there are several things that any caregiver can do in order to make sure that their senior loved one is getting the care and attention they need and that their medications are being handled properly.
- Make a medication list. This should include every single item the senior is taking, the dosage, the frequency and the reason for taking the drug. It is always a good idea to have a large overview of all of a senior’s medications. This can go a long way in helping any caregiver create a management plan and to prevent accidental dangerous drug interactions.
- Be clear on what each medication does. There are so many seniors who end up taking so many medications that they forget what each prescription is for. It is important to double check on what each type of medication is treating. A medication may be treating a condition that the senior no longer has, and may not be necessary anymore. Over-medicating can only lead to issues down the road.
- Talk to the doctor about dosage. Unfortunately, many seniors are taking too high of a dosage of their medications. This is true for both over-the-counter and prescription medications. A senior’s body may not be able to handle the same amount of a certain medication as a younger adult can. This is why it is so important to follow up and make sure that the senior is taking the right amount of each of their medications. Many doctors actually have seniors start out with a smaller dosage and work their way up.
- Ask questions if you are unsure. As a caregiver, if you are ever unsure about a medication or a treatment plan, you should always ask questions and even get a second opinion if you need to. Many times, caregivers are the only ones that can speak up for their senior loved ones. While many doctors will ultimately prescribe medications in a safe and effective manner, there are some who may prescribe inappropriately or in excess.
- Know the side effects. Every medication has some type of potential side effect, even over-the-counter medications. Senior caregivers need to be aware of all of the side effects that may accompany these medications. This way, if the senior starts exhibiting strange behavior, gets sick, sports a rash or starts to vomit, the caregiver can quickly determine what medication is causing the issues and talk to their primary care provider right away.
Medication management is a serious responsibility and one that caregivers should never take lightly. The good news is, with these tips, many caregivers can make sure they are doing everything they can to safely manage their loved one’s medications.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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