If you have a senior parent or loved one living at home, there’s a good chance that they take some sort of regular medication or supplements. As a family caregiver, you have a lot on your plate caring for an aging senior, and keeping track of their medications can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have any type of medical background or training. But it’s not impossible.
Making sure they they take the correct medications, in the proper doses and at the right time is important for the health of your senior. But it can be confusing and pills and capsules often look similar and can get mixed up making it difficult to keep track of.
Here are some tips for helping your senior parent or loved one getting help from a home care services provider with their medication:
1. Know who to call.
If there were an emergency, a medication mix-up, or an urgent question that you needed to ask, make sure that you, your senior, and any other caregivers know who to call. Make a point to look up the number for the poison control center as well and keep this information in a visible location that is easy for everyone to find.
2. Make a chart.
If your senior has complex medical issues requiring many different types of medications, it’s a good idea to make a chart to help you keep track of them all. Write down the names of each medication or supplement, the doctor who prescribed it, and what the medication is for. Also write down what the pill looks like which can be helpful to prevent mix-ups. Be sure to have a section that shows how much of each medication should be taken and when. This will help, especially if the have a home care services provider helping them out.
3. Get organized.
Figure out ways to help your senior stay organized when it comes to their medications. You can find pill organizers that are marked with each day of the week or month, making it easier for them to remember which pills to take each day. Also take the time to clean out their medicine cabinets so that they aren’t at risk of taking any old medications, vitamins, or supplements or get confused and take the wrong item.
4. Set a timer.
If your senior is home alone at all during times when they need to take medication, try setting a timer for them at home, or for you to call and remind them.
5. Have a discussion.
It is important to stress to your senior the importance of following the doctor’s instructions with regards to their medicine. Remind them that not taking their medicine on time or as written can have serious and even deadly consequences.
6. Get back up.
If your senior or loved one at home isn’t taking their prescriptions seriously, see if you can call a meeting or phone call with their doctor so that they can back you up about why they need to follow exact directions.