Medication Management: 5 tips for safe medication-taking habits

Image: Medication Management: 5 tips for safe medication-taking habits

Did you know approximately two thirds of seniors in Canada over the age of 65 have five or more drug prescriptions?

And approximately a quarter have 10 prescriptions or more (Canadian Safety Council).

This week we’re celebrating National Senior’s Safety Week! The focus this year is helping seniors safely manage their medications. Remembering how and when you take your medications and with what food or drink, can be complicated for many seniors. Here are a few helpful tips on keeping track of your medications and taking them when required:

- Know what is being taken - Keep an updated list of each medication including both over-the-counter and prescription medications. To avoid duplication, include why the medication is being taken, who prescribed it, the dose, frequency, any special dosing instructions (with or without food), and noticeable side effects (Aging Life Care)

- Take your pills at the same time each day - Right before a daily walk, when you brush your teeth, at the start of your favourite TV program, or maybe with the same meal if taking them with food alleviates medication side effects, like a stomach ache (Aging Life Care).

- Give yourself reminders - One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re taking your medication at the right times is to place a sticky note on your mirror, kitchen cupboard or steering wheel to remind yourself to take your meds. If it is difficult for you to remember whether you’ve already taken your pills, keep a calendar in a convenient location and mark the days off in a brightly colored marker each time you take your pills (Community Home Health Care).

- Set up an alarm on a clock radio or a cell phone – If you’re taking your medications at the same time every day setting an alarm will help keep you on track throughout the day.

- Set up home care– If you have a difficult time remembering to take your medications, a home care aide may be an ideal solution. In addition to helping you remember your medications, a home care aid can also help complete daily household tasks, assist you in getting to doctor’s appointments and handle some of the daily cooking and cleaning (Community Home Health Care).

Give us a call if you could use some support in the home!

Following these simple tips will help keep you on track and reduce the risk of a medication error. Be smart, be alert and prevent mistakes before they happen by learning the best ways to support yourself with managing your medications.