There are many reasons why some seniors have lapses when it comes to taking their medications as prescribed. Some believe that they don’t need what has been prescribed to them, or do not believe their medication is helping and therefore, discontinue its use. Some do not like the side effects, while others cannot afford the cost of the medication. And for some seniors, memory issues cause them to simply forget to take their drugs. If a senior is experiencing any of these issues, it is important to encourage them to continue the use of their medications with a few simple steps, and if necessary, suggest home healthcare to help keep them on track.
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Discuss the Medication
There is the possibility that the senior in question has difficulty understanding why their doctor has prescribed a certain medication, but they are too embarrassed to say so. A simple explanation on why they need that medication, and the consequences of not taking it, may be all that is needed. It is also a good idea to inform them of any side effects, or foods to be avoided. The costs should also be discussed, and if they cannot afford their prescribed medication, perhaps some financial assistance can be arranged. If there are concerns about interactions between different medications, or if any vitamins or over-the-counter products are going to be introduced, a visit to their doctor or pharmacists is ideal. Their health care practitioner can give them the information they need, and can answer any questions they may have about the medications they are taking, their correct dosages and any side effects they may experience, including warning signs of an immediate need to see a doctor.
Organizing Their Medications
Taking the prescribed dosage is very important, as is taking the medications at the right time of the day. There are many types of pill organizers out there, some simple ones with slots for the days of the week, some with morning, afternoon, and evening slots, and some monthly ones as well. Some even come with a built-in alarm to alert the senior that it is medication time. These products can be quite affordable, to fit into any senior’s budget. Hiring a personal support worker via a home healthcare agency would be a practical stride if a senior is missing medications due to cognitive decline, and needs regular reminders. A Personal Support Worker in their home, can offer medication reminders.
Proper Eating Habits
There are medications that need to be taken with food, just as there are those to be taken on an empty stomach. There are even some that certain foods, such as a grapefruit, must be avoided when on them. Because of this, it is essential to be sure that proper eating habits are strictly followed.
Offer Reminders and Encouragement
For those living with a senior, it is quite simple to help them to remember to take their medications. If there is an activity they do at the same time they take their meds each day, such as bathing or watching a certain television program, encourage them to use those activities as a reminder to take their medications. Also, mealtime is a good way to remember, if the medications are to be taken in the morning around their breakfast time, or any other regular meal or snack time.
Taking the proper dosage of medication at the right time is very important to a senior’s health maintenance. If they are having difficulty with this, it is always important for their families to help them when they can. But for those who cannot always be there, a home care agency can offer the assistance needed, to ensure that any elderly loved ones lives to their best potential with good health and wellbeing.