They call it “running” errands for a reason – we commonly would like to get through them as quickly as possible! But when it comes to picking up prescription medications, slowing down and spending more time at your neighborhood pharmacy to consult with the pharmacist, instead of buzzing through the drive-through, is important – particularly for the elderly who more often than not take a variety of medications.
The following list of questions to ask the pharmacist is a good place to start to make sure both you and the loved one you’re caring for are equipped with the information required:
- What, when and exactly how: First and foremost, obtain clarification on the basics, even though the most critical information is generally included on the label or accompanying paperwork. What exactly is the recommended medication dosage? Is there a precise time of day the medication needs to be taken? Will it be taken with meals, water, milk, on an empty stomach, etc.?
- When errors occur: If too much or not enough of the med is ingested, or if a dose is missed, what steps should be followed? How about if an older adult does not remember having taken the prescription and takes a double amount?
- Side effects: Once again, this info ought to be printed out for you; however, the pharmacist can provide a great breakdown of the most prevalent reactions to look out for, and what you can do if any ill effects or an allergic reaction occurs.
- What to avoid: Some medications interact negatively with others, and even with various types of food. Others might cause drowsiness or dizziness, rendering it hazardous to drive or operate machinery and raising the chance of a fall.
- Period of time: Will this med need to be taken ongoing, or is it short-term? If long-term, how many refills are part of the prescription? And is there a shelf life/expiration date? What will happen in the event the medication is taken past this date?
Lastly, make sure to request an evaluation of all medications the senior is taking to check for any contraindications between medications. This is particularly necessary for older adults receiving prescriptions from several medical professionals and specialists. Ask the pharmacist if there’s any duplication in the senior’s list of meds to prevent overmedication. It may be that one doctor has prescribed a generic version of a medication, whereas another wrote the prescription for the drug’s brand name.
Inspired Home Care will help make sure that seniors continue to be both informed in respect to the medications they’re taking, and compliant in taking them just as prescribed. We’re here to pick up prescriptions, supply transportation and accompaniment to the pharmacy to permit non-driving seniors to consult with the pharmacist, prompt seniors at the recommended time to take meds, and so much more.