Recent studies show that seniors take between one and seven prescribed and over-the-counter medicines daily— this is why it is no surprise that an estimated 58% older adults experience medication errors. It is alarming that up to 23% of admission in a nursing home is due to an elderly person’s inability to self-manage his prescription medications at home. Also, over 21% of all drug-related health complications of seniors are due to failure to adhere on their medication regimens, whether by accident, negligence, or intent. Moreover, 26% seniors out of the 58% are making mistakes that have potential serious consequences.
Fortunately, medication errors can be avoided. Here are some tips that will help you take your medicines properly:
1. When a doctor prescribed you a medicine always make sure to be informed with the following:
– Name of the medication
– Possible Side effects
– Directions on taking it
– Any dangerous interaction with other drugs or with certain foods
– Medication duration
– Storage information
– Cost (with/without insurance)
*It is a good habit to get all prescriptions filled by a single pharmacy. This way, any potential drug interaction will be brought to their attention.*
2. When buying over-the-counter medicine always do the following:
– Read the label first! The label informs you the Indications, Directions, active
and inactive Ingredients (ANY DANGEROUS INTERACTION WITH PRESCRIBED MEDICINES OR
FOODS), Unusual reactions, and Precautions for use.
– When in doubt, consult a pharmacist or a doctor. When unsure of how much
medicine to take, ask a pharmacist or a doctor. Remember More is Not Better
when it comes to Medicines.
– Check the expiration date. Don’t take medication after its expiration date.
3. If forgetting is the issue, there are:
– Reminding Gadgets available at your local drugstore
– Reminding/Dispensing Systems available online
– Telephone Services private companies that will call you to remind you to take
– Registered Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse that is employed by a licensed
home health agency can administer medications or organize pill boxes
– Med Management which is offered at some Assisted Living like Waters Edge Lodge. Included
in this service are inventory and ordering of medications for both new prescriptions and refills.
If you follow these tips, it can lower the chance of you and your loved ones making medication errors. If we spread the word, it can lower the number of seniors committing the same mistakes as the other 58% did. Start today with yourself, tomorrow with your loved ones, then another day for someone else.
Help our seniors live better, spread the word.