The average American senior has more than one doctor that they see, because they have several different conditions that need to be treated. Each doctor prescribes a different medication for each individual malady. It’s not uncommon for medication mix-ups to occur in the house of a senior. Here are some ways you can help your senior mom avoid dangerous medication mix-ups.
The channels of communication should stay open between you and your mom and also between you and your mom’s doctors. Speak with Mom regularly about which doctors she is seeing and which medications she is taking. Go to her appointments with her and get to know each of her doctors. Ask her doctors for copies of information on each medication Mom is taking. Keep a saved copy on your computer, and consider keeping a copy on your smartphone as well. It's also a good idea to keep physical copies of each medication information sheet in Mom's medicine cabinet for easy reference.
Get to Know Your Pharmacist
The better you know Mom’s pharmacist, the easier it will be to ask questions and double-check prescriptions. Being familiar with your mom’s pharmacist can help them remember Mom's face and her file. Make sure the pharmacist verifies all new prescription bottles for accuracy and checks Mom’s existing medications list for any possible drug interactions that could occur. If you or your mom are ever confused about a prescription, don’t hesitate to contact her pharmacist to learn more.
Never hesitate to ask Mom’s doctors or her pharmacist questions about any of her medications. Stay on top of any new medications that Mom is prescribed. Learn about all of the possible side effects. Speak up if you are worried about adverse drug interactions. Do not stay silent. Patients and their caregivers should stay informed and actively engaged in prescriptions and treatments.
There are several technological tools out there that can help Mom manage her medications and avoid dangerous mix-ups. Smartphone apps like Medisafe and MyRxProfile can help you and your mom keep track of her medications schedule. Getting Mom an electronic pill dispenser, like HERO or MedMinder, might help her keep on her medications schedule better. These dispensers can be placed on a counter at home to allow Mom easy access to the correct dosages of her medications at the correct times.