Medications play an expanding role in healthcare, so it is important to learn the benefits of medications, both prescription and non-prescription, while minimizing and managing the risks. As we grow older, we are more likely to develop chronic illnesses and appropriate medications can help us live longer and have more active lives. There is much you can do to make sure that you get the most benefit from medications and stay safe in the process.
First, ask questions. The more educated you are about your medications, the better. Always keep an updated list of your medications and take it to each appointment with a healthcare professional. Provide a current medication list to a friend or family member in case of an emergency. Know the medication name, the reason that it is prescribed, the dosage, side effects, when to call the physician and any other special instructions.
It is important to take medications exactly as they are prescribed. Inform all your physicians and your pharmacist about all of your medications, including vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the counter medications. Try to use the same pharmacy for all your prescriptions so they can track them.
Only take over-the-counter medications for specific symptoms that you are having, not multi-symptom medications that could cause additional issues. Link your medication routine to something that you do on a daily basis. Wear your eyeglasses and take the medications in a well-lit area. If you have trouble reading the labels, ask for them to be printed in large type. If you are having trouble swallowing a medication, ask if it comes in a different format. Don’t crush medications unless you have checked with your pharmacy. Be aware that medications can interact with other medications, herbs, vitamins, supplements, foods and alcohol.
The number of medications that one takes increases the risks of drug interactions, mix-ups and the potential for side effects. If you think you have experienced a side effect, contact your physician or pharmacist immediately. Don’t skip doses or stop taking a medication without speaking to your healthcare professional.
The effects of aging causes adult’s bodies to process and respond differently than those of younger people. The older you get, your sensitivity to medications increases. Be careful when taking medications for pain, anxiety, insomnia or depression. They can cause an increased risk of falls and accidents and cause changes in thinking and processing.
Medications should be stored in their original containers and out of reach of children and pets. Keep your medications separate from those of other family members, your pet’s medications and household products. Keep controlled substances locked up. The 24-hour Poison Control number is 1-800-222-1222.
If you are concerned about the cost of your medications inquire if there is a less costly alternative. There may also be cost saving manufacturer programs available.
Never take expired medications or medications for a past illness or condition. All expired drugs should be disposed of in a safe manner. In Allen County, PILLS ONLY may be disposed of at these ongoing sites: Huntertown Town Hall, New Haven Police Department, Indiana State Police Post and Rousseau Center. Allen County TRIAD’s Unwanted Medication Disposal program is held at select Walgreens on the 4th Friday of each April and September from 9am until 1pm for the collection of PILLS ONLY. The next disposal date is Friday, April 28, 2017. Call 260-469-3036 for more information and site locations or visit our TRIAD page on the Aging and In Home Services website www.agingihs.org. Triad is a partnership of three organizations – law enforcement/first responders, community organizations and seniors working together to ensure senior safety and prevent the criminal victimization of seniors.
You may also bring your medications to a Brown Bag Review at Kingston Residence, 7515 Winchester Road on Thursday, March 9 from 2 – 4pm to be reviewed by a Walgreens’ pharmacist. Call 415-7741 for more information.
This article was written by Jill Headrick, who is the Chairperson of Allen County TRIAD and Community Relations Director Kingston at Dupont Memory Care.
This article is sponsored by Kingston Residence.