When it comes down to medication management, caregivers require time management and most importantly, attention to detail. For some seniors with a variety of ailments, this could be a tedious task.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed when they are on a tight schedule. Here are a few tips for caregivers on how to best handle medication management.
1. Make sure to keep a detailed and up-to-date list of prescriptions.
One of the most important steps a caregiver can take in the management of medication, is to have a list that outlines each prescription with the details on dosage, what it’s for, if they need to have it with a meal, and what the possible side effects might be. Keeping their primary physician’s contact information easy to find is also essential.
Update this list regularly in case any changes occur in the medication. This helpful outline template is the perfect document to fill out in order to have a detailed record on hand.
2. Store the medications properly.
Certain medications need to be kept at a constant temperature. Moisture, light, and room temperature are all factors to be considered. Read the labels carefully to ensure that each medication will be stored in the most optimal storage conditions.
Medications can vary from needing to be stored at room temperature, refrigerated, or even in the freezer. A common misconception is that the medicine cabinet is the best place to store these. With the steam that comes from the shower running and the door being closed holding the heat in, the humidity can be damaging.
3. Use their usual pharmacy to renew prescriptions.
Find a local pharmacy that is close by and convenient for renewing current prescriptions and picking up new ones. Some will have auto-renew software and even will catch which medications could interact with one another.
4. Organize over a week’s worth of medications.
If you really get into an organized system of medication management, you can even take the liberty of planning out more than just a week of medications. Plastic pill organizers can be fairly inexpensive, and can help a caregiver lay out dosages for a month or two in advance.
When you organize prescriptions in a long term plan such as this, you’ll have a better idea of when they are running low on their supply.
5. Set reminders and alerts.
Don’t be afraid to set multiple alerts and alarms on your phone or other device as a reminder every day. Pillboxie or Medisafe are a couple of mobile phone apps designed to send these types of reminders to your phone, and store more information on each prescription.
Relying on memory can be dangerous, even for those with the best recall. You never want to miss a beat when it comes to being a caregiver, which is why this is a key component to medication management.
6. Pay attention to side effects or symptoms.
Having their primary care doctor on speed dial in the event of an emergency is important. But even monitoring changes in behavior or health with close observation before an emergency happens will help prevent it escalating to a more serious situation.
Changes in appetite, sleeping habits, and behavior can be curveballs for caregivers, but they need to be familiar with what are common side effects, and which are not. Keeping detailed records of the known side effects of each medication will help a caregiver know what to watch for.
When caregiving becomes too much
Stepping up to the plate as caregiver for a loved one presents so many challenges, and even more so if you are a family friend or close relative. The emotional aspect of caregiving is one of the many facets that make it all the more difficult to take on.
Emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion from caregiving is known as caregiver burnout. Although caregivers provide undivided devotion and attention to a loved one, it’s not uncommon that they lose themselves in the process. What caregivers need to know is that in order for them to provide the best care for a loved one, they must do the same for themselves.
If you or someone you know is at the point of burnout and is looking for outside help, let us be your partners in the transition to assisted living or memory care. Medication management, nutrition, daily care, and enriching activities and socialization are just a few of the great amenities and opportunities that await.
Give us a call today to learn more.
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