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Tips for managing your medication

Tips for managing your medication

Whether it’s vitamins or specific prescription medication, as we age the number of tablets we require may start to increase. Remembering to take all of them at the correct time can become a hassle. The incorrect use of medication can cause great harm, especially as seniors are more susceptible to side effects of medication misuse.1

Common ailments associated with age such as declining vision, hearing loss and a decline in memory or cognitive functions2 can make managing medication more difficult for some seniors.

Try these easy tips to ensure you manage your medication correctly and safely.

Understanding is key

First and foremost, it’s crucial you or someone who helps with your care understands exactly what your medicine is for. It’s also important to know the names of the medicines and what each tablet looks like. If you have any questions, go straight to your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure you understand whether there are medicines that can’t be taken together, and ensure these are spread out accordingly.

Make a list of all your medications

It’s a good idea to write down every medication you’re taking. Make sure you put the list somewhere visible. That way, if someone needs to dispense it for you, they’ll know which ones to give you depending on the time.

Another good tip is to carry the list with you. That way, if you need to go to the doctor or hospital, you don’t need to remember what medication you’re on, you can simply hand over the list. Make sure you include certain details including the name of the medication, what it’s for, what strength you take, how much you take, and what time of day you take it. It should also include any special instructions if required.

Use a dispenser

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There are loads of weekly or daily dispensers on the market nowadays that help organise your pills. Head to your local pharmacy to find a dispenser that suits your needs. You can find dispensers separated by time of day, and separated into two: AM and PM, or three: Morning, Afternoon, Night.

Always read the leaflet

The consumer medicine information (CMI) is a leaflet that is found in your medication box that provides important information about your medication. It’s essential to read the leaflet before you start taking medication as it informs about possible side effects, and how to best take the medicine. It also outlines how the medicine may interact with other substances, which is crucial if you’re taking multiple tablets at once. 3

The CMI’s formatting is standard for every medication, so it will always be easy for you to find the relevant information. If there isn’t one in the pill box you’ve bought, ask the pharmacist or your doctor to print one for you.

Storage and disposal

Medication should be stored away from heat and moisture as both these conditions can change the effectiveness of the medicine. 4 Avoid storing your medication in the bathroom or near a sink, and don’t leave it in the car.

Make sure your medication is kept in a handy and safe place so you can always access it when you need. Put the medication back in the same spot every time. Not only will this ensure you know where they are, it will also mean any family member or carer who comes into your home knows where they are too.

When you need to dispose of medication that is unused or out of date, always take it to the pharmacy to dispose of safely. Making sure out-of-date medicine is out of your home will also ensure any tablets you take are always within the expiry period. 4

Home Medicines Review

The Home Medicines Review program can help you manage your medication if you’re living in your own home. 1 The medication review is available for people who:

  • Take five or more regular medicines
  • Take more than 12 doses per day
  • Have had significant changes to medication in the past three months
  • Take medication that requires regular monitoring (e.g. insulin)
  • Have difficulty managing medication on their own
  • Have recently been discharged from hospital.

An accredited pharmacist will visit you at home at a time that’s convenient for you, so you can ask them any questions you have and develop a medication management plan.

Regular checkups with your doctor are encouraged to ensure you’re always taking the right amount of medication for you.

Looking for more ways to make life easier? Discover handy mobile apps to download now for a helping hand with a variety of daily wants and needs for seniors.


References

  1. Medication ManagementMy Aged Care
    https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/getting-started/healthy-and-active-ageing/medication-management
  2. 10 Health Conditions to Watch for as You Age Everyday Health
    https://www.everydayhealth.com/senior-health-photos/conditions-to-watch-for.aspx#04
  3. Medicine information leaflets for consumers Better Health
    https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/medicine-information-leaflets-for-consumers
  4. Managing your medicines NPS MedicineWise
    https://www.nps.org.au/medical-info/consumer-info/managing-your-medicines?c=managing-multiple-medicines-7a48be14