Medication & Pill Reminder Tips to Keep Your Elderly Parents Healthy
Many seniors depend on medications to stay healthy. However, medications are only helpful if seniors sometimes receive the correct doses. Missing doses or taking too much medication can pose serious health risks.
Taking medication accurately is a serious issue that many seniors face. Have you ever felt like the days of the week were running into each other? Many seniors think this same confusion can be exacerbated by memory or cognitive issues. In some cases, seniors may be admitted to the hospital because of the health issues resulting from taking medication inaccurately.
You can help your senior parent take medication accurately in many ways. Here are just a few methods you may want to try.
Signs a Senior Needs Medication Reminders
Does your parent need help with their medications? Many older patients aren’t aware or won’t mention that they’re getting confused about medication. That’s why you should watch out for the following signs.
- A senior has more medication left over at the end of the month than they should
- An old goes through medication too quickly, and the pharmacy is unable to refill the prescription because it is too early to approve a refill.
- An old’s health suffers, and issues that were under control with medication (like blood pressure) re-emerge.
- Seniors can’t remember when they took their medication or can’t understand dosage instructions.
If you notice these signs in your parent, then it’s time to implement medication reminders.
Setting Seniors Up for Medication Success
Implementing medication reminders is a significant first step in helping to keep your parent healthy. Be sure to contact Cahoon Care to help with your parent’s other care needs for a comprehensive overall care plan and peace of mind on your part.
How to Use Medication Reminders to Keep Your Parents on Schedule
As you design a program to help your parent take medication accurately, you must have a few goals in mind. Your method should:
- Keep medicine organized according to the times when it should be taken
- Allow you to pre-measure or prepare medication dosages to avoid dosing inaccuracy
- See when your parent has missed a medication dosage
Although various medication reminder methods can help your parent take the proper medication at the right time, none are foolproof. No matter which medication reminder you choose, someone must monitor the medication. Please check in with your parent daily to ensure they have taken all the medication doses they needed that day. If you can’t check on your parent personally, remember that home health caregivers can help with your parent’s needs, such as making sure your parent is taking their medication.
Popular Medication Reminder Methods for Seniors
There are various medication reminder methods that you can choose from. Finding a way that works best for your parent is important, so you may need to try out a few different arrangements before you find the right option.
Pill boxes are popular because they’re easy to use and affordable. There are many different pill box designs to choose from. If you opt for a pill box, look for one with the following characteristics:
- Spaces large enough to accommodate your parent’s medication
- Clear labels according to the day and time that each dose should be taken
- Boxes that are large enough and easy enough for your parent to open
When using a pill box, you should fill up the box with the appropriate medications ahead of time. This means that all your parent has to do is take the medicine from the correct box at the right time. It is easy to tell at a glance if your parent has missed a dose.
Many of our clients use PillPack. PillPack ships a senior’s medications in pre-sorted individual packages. Each pack is clearly labeled with the drugs and dosages it contains, and it also includes large labels showing the day and time when the drugs need to be taken.
PillPack takes the guesswork out of medication dosages. The packs are created at the pharmacy and shipped to your door. This is an excellent option if you don’t have the time to fill pill boxes, and it’s easy to tell if your parent has missed a dose.
How Home Health Care Can Supplement Medication Reminders
Home healthcare workers can also help with your parent’s medication reminders. Cahoon Care caregivers often check to ensure seniors progress through their pill boxes or PillPacks accordingly. Sometimes, we call seniors at night to remind them to take their nighttime medication. When you can’t be there yourself, caregivers can help ensure your parent gets their medicines as needed
Important Safety Considerations About Medication Reminders for Seniors
Medication needs to be handled carefully, and missed or incorrect doses can significantly impair your parent’s health. Consider these safety tips.
Follow Medication Handling Instructions
Always read any medication’s handling instructions before putting it into a pill box. Some medicines must be kept within strict temperature ranges and cannot be prepared beforehand.
Keep Extra Medications in a Safe Location
Once you’ve loaded your parent’s pill box, keep the extra medication bottles away in a safe location. Don’t store them in a place your parent would easily see them, like on a countertop, since this may confuse them and cause them to take more medication than they need.
Take Medication Errors Seriously
If your parent misses a dose or takes too many doses of medication, take this seriously. Such a situation could significantly affect your parent’s health, so call their doctor immediately or head to the hospital.