5 Medication Safety Tips for Seniors

January 20, 2016

Closeup view of pills in a box with small separations for each day of the week

Drug or medication errors are the cause of more than 700,000 visits to the hospital each year. Whether it is an improperly administered dosage, accidental consumption, or something else entirely, Heritage Creek Assisted Living wants to help reduce this number.

Here is some advice on how to keep medication safe and healthy for regular consumption.

Keep a list of all medications readily available

Every time you or a loved one sees a health provider, make sure to give that provider sees your list of drugs you are taking. That way, everyone knows exactly what your circumstances are and can advise or even eliminate a prescription.

Store medications in a dry place

Proper storage can be useful if seniors have pets or small children around. Make sure any medications are placed in spaces away from low counters, which keeps it away from kids. Keep the medicine locked up for safety when not in use.

Keep medicines stored in a dry place. Moisture can affect the chemistry of medicine and make it unusable. Try to keep medicine in a kitchen cabinet or other place away from moisture.

Use a medication box

While there may be a certain hesitance to using a medication box, the usefulness should outweigh the anxiety. A medication box can greatly reduce the chance of making mistakes while taking medicine. It can also allow a caregiver the ability to look over a group of medications as a whole before you or a loved one take any needed medicines.

If there is concern about missing a dosage, simply look at the previous days and times to see if medicines are still in the box. If there is still medicine, adjust accordingly, but not without talking to a caregiver or health provider first.

Take medications only as prescribed

If you think you or a loved one have no need to take a certain medication, take it anyway. Do not skip or avoid usage of the medicine before talking with a doctor or healthcare provider about stopping. Cutting a drug from your health routine can affect you greatly.

Similarly, if you think you need a higher dose of medication, talk with a professional. Do not take more medicine than is prescribed. It is estimated that up to 7% of all hospital cases occur because of severe drug reactions. Take precautions and ask a professional before making changes to your regimen.

Ask questions to your health care provider

If there have been no real benefits due to any prescribed medication, start a dialogue with the medical professional that recommended the medicine. Don't be afraid to get a second opinion.

It is crucial that all parties involved (seniors, caregivers, relatives, etc.) understand the function of any prescribed medicine. The only way you will achieve clarity is if there is an active dialogue.

Have any other tips?

Heritage Creek Assisted Living is always looking for more on how to keep seniors living a full and active lifestyle. If you have any medication safety tips or just live in San Antonio and are interested in our services, contact us now for more information.

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