Medication & Pill Reminder Tips to Keep Your Elderly Parents Healthy
Many seniors depend on medications to stay healthy. But medications are only helpful if seniors receive the correct doses at the correct times. 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 feel this same confusion, which 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.
There are many ways that you can help your senior parent to take medication accurately. 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 bring up the fact 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
- A senior goes through medication too quickly, and the pharmacy is unable to refill the medication because it is too early to approve a refill
- A senior’s health suffers, and issues that were under control with medication (like blood pressure) re-emerge
- A senior 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.
How to Use Medication Reminders to Keep Your Parents on Schedule
As you design a program to help your parent take medication accurately, you will want to have a few goals in mind. Your method should:
- Keep medication organized according to the times when it should be taken
- Allow you to pre-measure or prepare medication dosages to avoid dosing inaccuracy
- Clearly see when your parent has missed a medication dosage
Although there are various medication reminder methods which can help your parent to take the right medication at the right time, none of them are entirely foolproof. No matter which medication reminder you choose, it’s important that someone monitor the medication. Make a point of checking in with your parent on a daily basis to be sure that they have taken all of 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. It’s important to find a method that works best for your parent, so you may need to try out a few different arrangements before you find the right option.
Pill boxes are a popular option because they’re easy to use, simple 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 which 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 to take the medication from the correct box at the correct 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 medications and dosages it contains, and it also includes large labels showing the day and time when the medications need to be taken.
PillPack takes the guesswork out of medication dosages. The packs are created right at the pharmacy and are shipped to your door. This is a great 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 health care workers can also help with your parent’s medication reminders. Cahoon Care caregivers often check to make sure that seniors are progressing through their pill boxes or PillPacks accordingly. In some cases, we even call seniors at night to remind them to take their nighttime medication. When you can’t be there yourself, caregivers can help ensure that your parent is getting their medication 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 the handling instructions on any medication before you put it into a pill box. Some medications need to be kept within strict temperature ranges and cannot be prepared ahead of time.
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 could potentially 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 right away or head to the hospital.
Setting Seniors Up for Medication Success
Implementing medication reminders is a great 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.