According to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine, about 80% of older adults regularly take at least two prescriptions, and 36% regularly take at least five prescription drugs. Seniors in nursing homes are prescribed an average of seven to eight drugs. These percentages don’t include over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements.

Failing to take their medication in a timely manner safely is an ever-present problem for seniors, and it’s growing worse as our population ages. Fortunately, you can take steps to help your loved one get organized and improve how they are managing their medications.

Here are seven tips to help reduce or prevent medication-related health dangers for an aging adult:

1. Review Medications With Their Doctor

Make a list of the medications they take and how often they take them. The next time you see your parent’s primary care physician, go over this list with them. The more information the doctor has, the more accurately they can recognize potential adverse effects from drug interaction.

2. Read the Labels

The label will help you understand dosages and the medication’s potential side effects and interactions. Read the label on over-the-counter medications, as well as prescription drugs. If you have questions about what you’ve read, call your loved one’s pharmacist or doctor.

3. Learn About Possible Interactions

Ask their doctor if there are certain drugs on the list of meds they’re taking that shouldn’t be taken together. Be sure to include herbal supplements or over-the-counter drugs your loved one is taking since those can have adverse side effects when taken in tandem with prescription drugs.

4. Know the Side Effects

After asking their doctor about potential side effects, regularly ask your loved one if they’ve noticed feeling any different since starting the new medication. Possible side effects can include changes in sleep patterns, weight, hunger levels, or balance. Let their doctor know about any side effects your senior is experiencing.

5. Be Aware of Medications Harmful to Seniors

The American Geriatrics Society has compiled a list of meds that older adults should use with caution or avoid altogether. Some have been found to be ineffective, while others pose an increased risk of harmful side effects and interactions. Talk with your loved one’s pharmacist or doctor if any of their meds are on the list.

6. Make Sure They Know The Danger of Self-Prescribing

Aging adults have been known to decide to increase the frequency of taking their medication to treat a symptom faster. If a medication isn’t providing the expected relief, talk with their doctor and get advice. Self-medicating increases the chances of serious harmful effects of their medication.

7. Help Them Organize Their Medications

Many tools and devices are available to help your loved one stay on track and well-organized with managing their medications. In addition to pillboxes that separate the meds by day and time, some mail-order pharmacies will put medications taken together in packets. There are also numerous apps available that can help your loved one stay safe by helping them manage their medication.

Managing medications can be challenging, but with a bit of care and research, the process can be streamlined and made more manageable for you and your loved one.

Seniors Prefer Homecare Can Help

Our carefully screened caregivers can help make sure that your loved one takes the right meds at the right time. They’ll make sure your parent isn’t self-prescribing or suffering any adverse effects from their meds.

Contact us today to speak with a professional home care consultant and discover all of the personal services we offer our clients. We’ll provide you with a free initial assessment which will be used to design a personalized Care Plan for your loved one. Just fill out the online form or call us at (888) 900-9897. A member of our staff will be happy to help.