For most seniors, taking multiple medications is a part of daily life. Over time, some people lose track of the amount and types of medicine prescribed to them, which can lead to what is known as polypharmacy.
In this blog, we will examine polypharmacy and provide four great ways to help prevent it from becoming an issue in your loved one’s life.
What is Polypharmacy in the Elderly?
Polypharmacy can be defined as the daily, simultaneous use of four or more medications. While taking multiple prescriptions each day may not seem problematic, it can increase the risk for dangerous drug interactions to occur.
It is important to note that the concept of polypharmacy not only applies to physician-prescribed medications, but also to over-the-counter products too.
Symptoms of Polypharmacy
Here are some symptoms to look for if you have a concern that the medications your loved one is taking may be causing harmful interactions to occur.
• Sleep Problems
• Loss of appetite
• Mental confusion
• Loss of balance
• Overall weakness
Strategies for Avoiding Polypharmacy
Let’s look at four ways to help your loved one avoid problems with regard to polypharmacy.
Keep Close Track of Medications
Maintain an up-to-date list of all the medications your loved one is taking, and the intended purpose for each one. Record the name of the drug, the dosage, what condition it is prescribed for, and how often it is taken.
Call your loved one’s doctor, and confirm that the list you have matches their records. Be sure also to give copies of your loved one’s prescription list to caregivers, or family members.
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Educate Yourself on New Medications
Any time your loved one is prescribed a new medication, carefully review the information about it. Become familiar with what the drug is, its purpose, and any potential interaction problems it may cause.
Consult with your loved one’s doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about the new medication. As the old expression goes, knowledge is power. The more informed you are, the better you can help your loved one steer clear of problems.
Use the Same Pharmacy to Fill Prescriptions
One of the best ways to avoid a polypharmacy situation is to utilize only one pharmacy for all of their medications. By filling prescriptions at a single pharmacy, you can get to know the staff, and ask any questions you might have.
Even though medication records are available at multiple pharmacies, having a personal rapport with the drug store’s employees will go a long way toward ensuring your loved one’s medication management system is working effectively.
Participate in Medication Reviews
Staying up to date with your loved one’s medication needs is critical to their long-term well-being. Attend doctor appointments with them, and ask the care team to review the list of prescriptions your loved one is taking.
Ask the doctor whether any medication changes are needed, or if they foresee the possibility of harmful drug interactions occurring.
Managing your loved one’s daily medication regimen can be complex and challenging. By keeping close track of their medications, educating yourself, using one pharmacy to fill prescriptions, and participating in medication reviews, you will be helping your loved one get the most benefit from their prescriptions.
The kind and compassionate staff at Frontier Senior Living has helped many families find the perfect senior living community to meet their loved one’s exact needs. Our highly knowledgeable and experienced medication management team ensures our residents’ prescriptions are handled appropriately at all times.
If you would like to learn more about our services, we cordially invite you to visit one of our beautiful properties, take a tour, and speak with our wonderful staff.
Frontier Senior Living is Here to Help
The compassionate staff at Frontier Senior living has helped many families find the perfect Senior Living Community to meet their loved ones’ unique needs.
If you would like to learn more about our services, we cordially invite you to visit one of our properties, take a tour, and speak with our wonderful staff.
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Livingston Place at Southern Avenue4656 Livingston Road Southeast Washington, District of Columbia 20032 (771) 333-8279 Levels of Care:
Portside at Grande DunesMyrtle Lane Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29572 (843) 894-2355 Levels of Care:
Assisted Living, Independent Living, Memory Care
The Parc at Harbor View Senior Living46 Lincoln Street Winthrop, Massachusetts 02152 (857) 349-5044 Levels of Care:
Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care