They call it “running” errands for a reason – we have a tendency to want to get through them as fast as possible! But with regards to picking up prescription medications, slowing down and spending additional time to talk to the pharmacist, versus buzzing through the drive-through, is very important – particularly for the elderly who more often than not take a variety of meds.
The following list of questions to ask the pharmacist is a great place to begin to make sure you and the senior you’re caring for are equipped with the knowledge necessary when managing medications and our Howard County senior care agency is sharing some tips:
- What, when and exactly how: To begin with, obtain clarification on the basics, even though the most critical information is typically written on the label or accompanying paperwork. What is the right dosage? Is there a specific time of day the med must be taken? Will it be taken with food, water, milk, on an empty stomach, etc.?
- When errors arise: If too much or not enough of the medication is taken, or if a dose is missed, what guidelines ought to be undertaken? How about if a senior forgets having taken the medication and takes a duplicate dosage?
- Side effects: Again, this ought to be printed out for you; however, the pharmacist can supply you with an excellent review of the most typical negative effects to look out for, and what you should do if any ill effects or an allergic reaction occurs.
- What to avoid: Certain medications interact adversely with others, and sometimes even with various kinds of food. Others could cause sleepiness or dizziness, making it hazardous to drive or operate machinery and increasing the threat of a fall.
- Time period: Will this med need to be taken continuously, or is it short-term? If long-term, how many refills are included in the prescription? And is there a shelf life/expiration date? What happens if the medication is taken past this date?
Finally, make sure to ask about an evaluation of all medications the senior is taking to check for any contraindications between medications. This is especially vital for older adults receiving prescriptions from a number of doctors and specialists. Ask the pharmacist if there is any duplication in the senior’s list of meds to prevent overmedication. It could be that one physician has prescribed a generic version of a medication, while another wrote the order for the drug’s brand name.
Home With You Senior Care, a Howard County senior care agency will help make sure that seniors remain both informed about the medications they’re taking, and compliant in taking them just as prescribed. We’re here to pick up prescriptions, supply transportation and accompaniment to the pharmacy to permit non-driving seniors to speak to the pharmacist, remind older adults at the appropriate time to take meds, and much more.