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Managing Prescriptions For Your Loved One

From keeping track of medications to monitoring over-medication and drug abuse, managing prescriptions should be a top priority.

Helping take care of an aging parent is common for adults. Providing transportation and helping take care of the house are common tasks, but assisting with prescription management should be a high priority.

Prescription medications become a common part of life with the aging process. Medications can do everything from manage pain to lower blood pressure and cholesterol to treat depression. They are tools to help make life better, in some cases even prolong it, but a long list of medications can become overwhelming and even dangerous. Proper management is key to avoiding overdose and to keep track of any red flags that might point to addiction or drug abuse. There are several ways to keep track of and successfully manage a senior citizen's weekly medication routine.

Write a List or Make a Chart

Medications all have different dosages and specifications. Sit down and write a list of all of the different prescriptions, when they need to be taken, how often, if they need to be taken with food, if alcohol can be consumed, if any particular over the counter medications can't be taken with the drug, and any other important information. Keep this information in list form or create a chart. Make copies so that more than one exists in case it is lost or needed during an emergency. It might also be wise to take the list to a doctor or pharmacist to double check there is no risk of a dangerous interaction between the medications on the list.

Store Drugs in One Place

Purchase a plastic bin or some other type of storage container to keep track of all medications in one place. Purchase a day of the week pill keeper and spend time at the beginning of the week filling the container with the required dosages.

Use One Convenient Pharmacy

Keeping prescriptions all in one place is an easy way to keep track of all necessary medications and will save a lot of complications. Using an online pharmacy option, like the Kmart Pharmacy at mygofer.com, makes ordering and refilling prescriptions easier. In addition, you will be able to keep track of the number of times a prescription is ordered to make sure there is no suspicious ordering activity, which can point to a potential addiction.

You should also ensure that your pharmacy is convenient for you. The auto refill option through Kmart Pharmacy at mygofer.com will come in handy because you won't need to worry about when you need a refill. The prescription orders are automatically placed for you at your designated intervals. They also offer home delivery in Chicago and the surrounding areas!

Watch Behavior

Prescription drug abuse among senior citizens is on the rise. Those over the age of 65 are more likely to be prescribed potentially addictive medications than any other age group, and the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explains that in 2005, roughly 10% of those Americans seeking treatment for a drug addiction were over the age of 50. It is important to make note of any sudden behavioral changes, like increased irritability or forgetfulness. Sneaky behavior, unwillingness to talk about prescriptions, or finding secret stashes of pills also point to possible addiction. In addition, watch for signs of overdose like slowed breathing or confusion. It's important to seek professional help in either situation.

Speak Up

Over prescribing medications is another common problem among the elderly. If you're concerned about the amount of medications prescribed, don't be afraid to ask questions. Speak to the prescribing physician about why each medication is prescribed, if it is completely necessary, what the risk factors of prolonged use are, and if there might be any other alternatives to certain medications on the list. If the doctor is not open to discussion, consider finding a new physician.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jo Holzer June 10, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Excellent advice. We have found the spreadsheet format works the best. When a change is made, we copy the old one, then correct it with the new information so we have a complete history -- since 2007. We print two every time we have a doctor visit - one for him/her, one for our files. Thank you for providing this good advice!
Emilee Watts October 09, 2012 at 01:42 PM
It is really difficult to manage the prescription costs without insurance. So I use International Drug Mart, for my prescription needs and save my money.
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