If you’re like many family caregivers, you probably manage your aging relative’s medications. That can be quite a job since many older adults take multiple medicines. You probably organize medications into pill boxes. Another task that you may be responsible for is picking up the senior’s medicine at the pharmacy. Because you’re so involved in the medicines that manage your family member’s medical conditions, it’s a good idea to know as much about them as possible. One way to do that is to ask the pharmacist questions. Below are 5 questions for caregivers to ask the pharmacist each time they pick up a new prescription.
#1: How is this medicine used?
It’s important that medications be taken exactly as the senior’s doctor prescribed them. Make sure you know when the medicine is supposed to be taken and how much the senior should take. Also, find out what to do if the older adult accidentally misses a dose. Some medicines may require them to double up the next dose and others should not be doubled.
#2: What are the possible side effects?
Caregivers need to be watchful for any side effects a medication may cause. In some cases, side effects can be dangerous and warrant no longer using the drug. Ask the pharmacist what kinds of side effects the drug has and what signs you should look for. Also, find out what to do if side effects occur.
#3: What is the cost of the medication? Is there a cheaper alternative?
Many seniors are on a fixed income, so paying for expensive medications can be difficult. Caregivers may want to find out the cost of the drug and whether the senior’s insurance will cover it. Also, ask if there is a less expensive generic drug.
#4: Does the drug interact with other medicines or substances?
Find out if the drug interacts with other medications the senior is on or with over the counter medicines. Also, find out if there are any foods or drinks that should be avoided, such as grapefruit or alcohol. Because some supplements can also interfere with prescription medications, make sure you tell the pharmacist about any supplements your aging relative is taking.
#5: Are there other things caregivers and seniors should know?
Some other things you may need to know about medication are whether it should be taken with food or on an empty stomach. If your aging relative still drives, find out if the medicine could make driving unsafe.
If you or an aging loved one is considering caregivers in Apache Junction, AZ, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today: 480-377-6770.