Managing Medications

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“Old people need a lot of pills.”
That was a statement made by the grandson of a senior client. While we all got a chuckle out if it – kid’s say the darndest things, right? – it was a crude, but sometimes correct observation.  The truth is that senior citizens sometimes to find themselves taking a handful of pills everyday.  Sometimes the diversity of medications can become hard to keep track of.  That’s why medication dispensers can be so handy. They can allow people to load up an entire weeks worth of medication at one time.

The real concern with that much medication being used at the same time is medicine interaction.  If you or your loved one takes five, six, seven or more pills at a time, it’s easy to imagine that one of those medications might get into conflict with another.  This is a major concern.  Many drug related overdoses or interaction problems happen to senior citizens every year because they combined their many prescription medications with over the counter drugs or with alcohol and the chemical reaction in their bodies became explosive.

If you are a caregiver, it’s up to you to come up with some the rules or procedures to insure that there is little or no possibility of a drug related reaction which could lead to a bad reaction.

Knowledge is power when it comes to managing medications.  The people to rely on for that information are doctors and pharmacists.  Sometimes conflicts arise from different specialists prescribing drugs.  So be sure there is one doctor who is in charge of you or your loved one’s health in general.  Have him or her review the current medications, their frequency and ingredients to assure that there is no potentially dangerous interactions.  It is important to include any over the counter medications that are being taken as well.

Your pharmacist can perform the same function as he is trained in understanding the way drugs interact.  So, as with the doctor, it’s good to pick one pharmacist for all of your drugs and schedule a time to go over the entire medication picture to look for potential problems.

The next important area of focus to avoid potential medication mistakes is at home.  There is a lot you can do to prevent accidentally taking the wrong medications or the wrong dosages, either of which can cause potential problems. If the medicine cabinet where the meds are kept is full of similar looking bottles and the only way to tell them apart is fine print, do your part to make them unique.

You can buy multicolored bottles to transfer the drugs into.  Then you can write out the medicine schedule in clear understandable terms like, “3 p.m. take 2 from the blue bottle, 1 from the pink bottle and 1 from the green bottle.”  You can even take the next step of using a label maker to mark each bottle in clear, large print type so there is no possibility that what is in that bottle could be misunderstood.

Another option is to consider a medication dispenser. Alert Response has a medication dispenser with 28 compartments. If you are taking medication twice per day, you can preload two weeks worth of medication at a time. The dispenser also has corresponding alarms, so when it is time to take the medication, the machine will beep and a little door pops open, revealing the appropriate dose.

Take proper care to keep track of medicines and their expiration dates and stay ahead of reorder cycles.  A great way to save money is to use online pharmacies or reorder services that can provide you with generic equivalent of prescription drugs.  But make sure the medication provider is legitimate so you know you are getting exactly what you ordered.

We hope this information is helpful to you. If you have any questions about Alert Response medication dispensers, please contact us.


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