The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists noted that 92 percent of seniors have at least one chronic condition. About 77 percent have two or more. These conditions range from diabetes to arthritis and Alzheimer's disease, many of which require multiple medications for treatment. Taking several medicines a day can get confusing, especially for those with dementia or other memory-related issues. Here are some tips for helping your loved one keep track of his or her medications:
Write everything down
Many seniors find it helpful to write a reminder when they take a prescription. They can simply note what drug they took, the dose and the time. This way, if they forget and are wondering if they've taken a necessary medicine, they can just look at the note they left. Help your older loved one start this useful habit by designating a particular notebook solely for the purpose of recording medications. You can even use a planner so the dates are already printed on the paper.
Use a watch with a timer
Some medicines must be taken at certain times, like 30 minutes before the senior eats or right before bed. Provide the older person with a watch that has a timer. Set the device to go off whenever he or she must take medicine. Every time the watch goes off, he or she will know to administer whatever meds are needed.
Keep a weekly pillbox
Some individuals who reside in memory care communities don't remember what day of the week it is. This may cause confusion, and the person may even accidentally take the wrong medicine because he or she thinks it's a different day. Dole out the senior's medicines at the beginning of each week into a 7-day pillbox. These helpful tools are labeled Monday through Sunday and are a great place to store each pill an older person must take. Memory care communities also have specially trained staff who can provide medication administration for your loved one if they are unable to do so safely.
Try a reminder service
If the senior has a phone or tablet, sign him or her up for a reminder service. This may mean using an application that sends out alerts when it's time for the older individual to take his or her medicine. Seniors who are a part of assisted living communities can choose to have a nurse or staff member remind them when to administer medications. This is especially helpful for those with memory troubles. Even seniors who don't have dementia can benefit from reminders. After all, there are a lot of fun activities to get caught up in at assisted living communities.
Know the medicines
Seniors should have a full understanding of why they are taking the medicines they have been prescribed. If they understand what their conditions are and how the medicines help, they will place more importance on administering the meds in a timely manner and the correct dosage. You, too, should understand the medicines so you can offer guidance should the senior ask about one. Don't hesitate to call the doctor who wrote a prescription if you or the older person have questions. These professionals are here to help.