Tips for Managing Medications at Home

This article was originally shared on Aging Care.

When patients, caregivers, doctors and pharmacists work as a cohesive care team, medication-related problems can be avoided, resulting in better health outcomes and improved daily functioning. The following tips will help seniors and their caregivers manage prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications responsibly.

Learn About Each Medication

Learn as much as possible about each medication that is being taken. Be sure to read the information pamphlets that come with prescription medicines. Ask the doctor and pharmacist any questions you may have about the drugs your loved one is taking and how you can help them manage their medication regimen. In addition to the name, dosing information and potential side effects, it is also important to understand why each one has been prescribed.

Questions to Ask About Medications

  • Why has this medicine been prescribed?
  • How does this medicine work in the body?
  • What are the most common side effects?
  • Are there any serious or rare side effects that I should be aware of?
  • Will this medicine interact with others that my loved one is taking now?
  • When will this medicine begin to work?
  • What should I do if my loved one misses a dose? What if they accidentally take more than prescribed?
  • Should my loved one take this medicine with food or water?
  • Are there other drugs, vitamins or supplements that my loved one should avoid while taking this medicine?
  • Are there activities that my loved one should avoid while taking this medicine?
  • Are there any foods that interact with this medication?
  • Is it safe to drink alcohol while on this medicine?
  • How long will my loved one have to take this medicine? Will we need a refill? How do I arrange that?
  • Do you have written information about this medicine that I can take home with me?

Have Complete Medical Records on Hand at Appointments

Make sure all health care providers have your loved one