When it comes to the safety and security of your loved one, you cannot be too careful. For people experiencing the effects of aging, disability, illness, or injury, a fall or forgotten medication can be a serious health hazard. At SYNERGY HomeCare, we understand the relationship between fall prevention and regular medication reminders, and we are here to help.
It can be hard to remember to take medication, especially when you are not feeling well, or you are focused on your recovery. Seniors and people with Alzheimer's have so many prescriptions that they have a hard time remembering when to take them. A friendly reminder to take medication can mean that you are taking the prescribed amount, and abiding by doctor's orders.
SYNERGY HomeCare is well-acquainted with the importance of safety and security in the home. Through your local SYNERGY HomeCare office, you can receive a detailed safety assessment of your loved one's home, as well as suggestions on ways to improve safety levels and decrease the likelihood of a fall or an accident. Use the form at the bottom of the page to request your free home assessment.
Managing prescription medicines is a part of a senior's home safety plan to prevent falls. By knowing what medicine might make one dizzy or sleepy, or have an adverse reaction when taken with a mother prescription medicine or supplement can prevent a fall.
For many seniors who live alone, fear for their safety is a stressful part of life. Sometimes, just having a caregiver around can calm those fears and provide peace of mind. Peace of mind is why many seniors have in-home care for a few hours a week, plus caregivers can keep an eye on safety while they prepare meals, do laundry, and run errands.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls occur to one in every three adults age 65 and older. These falls can lead to brain damage, broken bones, and other moderate to severe injuries. Worse yet, they can often lead to your loved one entering into a skilled care or rehabilitation facility, which can take them out of their homes.
With a little bit of help, falls can be easy to prevent. Our caregivers can assist while transferring between beds and wheelchairs and help walking around the house. By preventing your family member from falling, home care can also prevent hospital stays and injuries and promote a healthy, independent lifestyle. Read our fall prevention guide here.
Four tips for managing your medication
1. Take your medicine regularly and according to your health care provider's instructions
2. Keep a medication list, including:
• Name of each prescription medication, over the counter medicines, vitamin, and supplement
• When to take them
• What dosage
• Who prescribed each prescription
• The purpose of each item and what symptoms it's supposed to treat
• Whether each item is for short term or long term use
3. Be aware of potential drug interactions and side effects
4. Review medications with your doctor
The F.D.A. warns, "Whether you're settling into your sixties or heading into your ninth decade, be careful when taking prescription and over-the-counter medicines, herbal preparations, and supplements. And if you're caring for older loved ones, help them stay safe, too."
The older you get, the more likely you are to use additional medicines, which can increase the chance of harmful drug effects, including interactions. And, as you age, physical changes can affect the way drugs are handled by your body, leading to potential complications. For instance, your liver and kidneys may not work as well, which affects how a drug breaks down and leaves your body.
"There is no question that physiology changes as we age. Many chronic medical conditions don't even appear until our later years," explains RADM (Ret.) Sandra L. Kweder, M.D., F.A.C.P., a medical officer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "It's not that people are falling to pieces; some changes are just part of the normal aging process."
Keep all medications, vitamins, O.T.C. medications and supplements in one safe location
Keeping them in one location allows you to manage dosages, as well as knowing when a refill is due or if something is expired.
Keep pill bottles in a clear plastic storage bin, maybe the size of a shoebox. Use a separate container to keep your backup or occasional-use medications.
In terms of storage, keep them in a safe place, away from pets and kids. Also, avoid storage in the bathroom as heat and moisture can affect their efficacy.
A pill organizer allows you or your caregiver to help pre-sort medications for the week. If your loved one needs to have pills split, doing it ahead will make it easier for them and you.
How will you or your loved one remember to take their medicine?
There are many ways to remember when and how to take your medicine
If you have an in-home care provider such as SYNERGY HomeCare, your caregiver can set up a medication reminder system to work whether they're with you or not.
The reminder system can be as simple as a spreadsheet where you can keep a log of when you took your medicine. Or create a chart with the same premise. You'll never have to remember using one of these.
• If your aging parent is "tech-savvy," you can set up reminders on their phone. There are medication management apps you can download for free too.
• If you're loved one is not tech-savvy, you can set a basic alarm clock.
• Some seniors schedule their medication dose by meals.
An essential part of remembering to take their medication is remembering to request refills so they will never be in a position where they're out of the medication until a doctor can prescribe a new one. Some pharmacies allow for automatic refills, other pharmacies allow for a 90 day supply of medication which minimizes your trips to the drugstore and the potential for forgetting to refill them.
To learn more about safety and medication reminders, please contact your local SYNERGY HomeCare office or call (877) 432-2692, or use the form below to request a free home assessment.