Aging brings several unique challenges. Managing medication can be a real
challenge for senior patients and caregivers. Medication management can be
complicated and may require frequent changes in medications and quantities
of medications. It is critical that the seniors take the prescribed medication
when and if required, and in the right quantity. Failing to do so can cause
serious complications. Many senior care communities help their residents in
managing their medication requirements. This becomes even more important
for patients that have multiple health conditions. Taking multiple medications
(also known as polypharmacy) is common among aging adults because of the
presence of multiple health issues. About 80% of older adults take at least two
medications and almost 35% of them take five or more prescription medicines.
These rates may even be higher if vitamins and supplements are included in
the count. These numbers clearly suggest that polypharmacy is an actual
issue for the aging population of the US.
However, there are a few tips that can help seniors develop an effective
Firstly, it is important to make sure that the prescribed medicines are taken
regularly. Medicines help in keeping the body functional and one must never
be careless in following the prescribed medical routine. It is a good idea to set
an alarm reminder or relegate the responsibility to a family member or a
friend. You can use a smartphone, calendar, or notes to keep track of
prescribed refill dates and reinforce the habit of taking them regularly.
You can also use multiple reminder boxes or dispensers to organize
medicines, especially if you are taking multiple types of medications. Multiple
containers can be organized by the day of the week. These labels will allow
you to place the medicines you need according to the day and help you track
Remember that our bodies keep on changing. We need constant health care
and hence monitoring such changes and reporting them to the doctor is
essential. Complete recovery from a certain condition is always a possibility
and if a particular symptom has changed, medication might not even be
required. Similarly, if a particular medication isn’t working to your benefit, it
must be reported to the doctor so that an alternative medication/solution is
prescribed. With aging, a more regular visit to the doctor becomes essential.
The patients should know if the prescribed medications are safe to be taken at
the same time. Multiple dosages of medications can be strong and may have
certain side effects at the same time. Therefore, as a patient, you should be
absolutely sure of the consequences.
Certain medications may require you to fill up your stomach with liquids or
food. You must ask your doctor if that is the case and follow the instructions,
Taking multiple medications can pose a challenge but it is even more
important to ensure that the prescriptions are filled at the right time. Make sure
that you do not miss out a few days of medication due to delays. Make notes
about ordering the prescription. If transportation is an issue, make advance
Whenever you start a new medication or change your existing medical routine,
make sure that monitor potential side effects. Signs such as dizziness,
weakness, stomachache, or excessive nausea should be reported to the
Remember that drugs come with expiry dates. Expired medication can cause
very serious side effects. Therefore, it is important to dispose of all expired
There is always a temptation to increase the dose of certain medicines.
Remember that self-prescription is dangerous. Medicines are developed after
a lot of research and the doctors know how they affect your body. Do not
increase the dose just because you think that in doing so you will heal yourself
faster. Also, be aware of the excessive usage of over-the-counter drugs. Self-
medicating can increase the risk to your life. If a certain medicine isn’t working
isn’t providing the expected relief, report it to your doctor. Overmedication can
be very harmful. Let the doctor decide these matters for you. Medications only
work well with taken with a certain discipline and directed by the doctor.
If you have medical conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you
will need professional help to manage and monitor your medication.