At one time or another nearly everyone has had to take prescribed medications. Today we are living longer than any prior generation. And as we age, our senior population is facing more health issues than any prior generation. The good news is that the pharmaceutical industry has been able to develop medications that help to control a lot of many health concerns to help seniors live longer and healthier lives.
When you are a senior with Medicare benefits that include prescriptions you are able to get your medications at little to no cost. Once you have your prescriptions filled, the next important step is for you to know how to make sure you’re taking your medications correctly as directed by your doctor. Medication management works best when there is a unified effort between you, your doctor or doctors, your pharmacist, and your family members or your caregiver if you have one. Taking more than one medication day after day can become so routine that you might easily miss a pill or forget how to take them correctly. You can remove any guesswork by using the following tips.
How to Manage Your Prescriptions
1. Doctors: It is not unusual for seniors to be seeing more than one doctor for their different health issues. It helps your doctors to prescribe the best medicine for you when they each have a current list of all prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines that you are taking. The reason for this is to ensure that all of your medicine will work together without causing you any complications or potential side effects. But you can play a major role in your medical routine by asking your doctor why you are being given a specific drug, how it will benefit your health issue, and how you need to take the drug.
Not all medicines are taken in the same manner. Some are taken on an empty stomach, some are taken with food, and some are taken at different times of the day and evening. There are some prescriptions that are taken only a few days a week rather than on a daily basis. If you think you might not fully understand the doctor’s instructions, ask for detailed written instructions so that you will clearly know how to make sure you’re taking your medications correctly.
2. Pharmacist: Using the same pharmacy for all your prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs is another way method of medication management. Your local pharmacist will have a record of what drugs you are taking and for what reason. Getting to know your pharmacist enables this person to alert you of any potential side effects or complications that certain drug combinations may cause because he will know what you are taking and for what reason.
You can help in your medication management by knowing what each prescription pill or tablet looks like so that you can ask why any new refill looks different than what you are used to taking. Because generic drugs are constantly replacing brand-name drugs, your Medicare benefits may require the pharmacy to use the lower-priced drugs. The generic drugs are just as effective as the brand-name drugs but may look different. It is always helpful to ask the pharmacist about the change in size, shape, or color.
3. Family Members or Caregiver: When you have someone such as a family member or caregiver who is helping with your daily needs, this person can help you with your prescription management. They can be beneficial in helping with your prescription management when they know what medicines you take, why you take them, and when you take them. Besides being able to remind you when it is time to take your medications, this person will be able to relay your prescription routine to medical professionals or rescue personnel in the event of an emergency.
4. Your Management: When you have several or many pills that you need to take on a regular basis, it is too easy to forget to take, overlook taking, or overtake on any particular pill. You can avoid this typical error by using a weekly pill box organizer that has labels for each day of the week that includes AM and PM compartments. If you need to take your prescriptions more than twice a day, there are other styles of pill organizers that have several compartments available for each day that will meet your requirements. In addition to letting you pre-organize the coming week’s medications, you will know when the medications need to be refilled. You don’t need to watch the clock to know when it is time to take a pill. You can set an alarm clock to ring at the right time or wear a watch with an alarm set to ring at the correct time.
Bottom Line: With a timetable or schedule for each prescription, you will be the best person to help you manage your medications. Never hesitate to ask your doctor, pharmacist, or helper if you ever have a question about your prescriptions. With a unified effort, you can remain in the best possible health.