Managing your medication — advice for seniors and their loved ones

As we get older, the volume and variety of medications we’re told to take can become overwhelming. But keeping on top of your regime is very important. Here are some practical tips to keep everything under control.

Taking multiple medications is a part of everyday life for many older people. Keeping on top of what you need to take when can be tricky, but is, of course, vital for your health. Check that you’re doing these simple things to make medication a little more manageable.

Write it down

The most effective tactic for keeping a clear idea of what medication you or your loved one needs is to write it down. Make a clear list of everything that’s needed, and when it needs to be taken. This should be stored in a prominent place, near the medications themselves. Include important details such as special instructions like ‘must be taken with food’, or side-effects like ‘may cause drowsiness’.

This list is also very useful for showing a doctor what you’re already taking at your next visit, so they can check that you’re taking all the right things.

Try creating a chart that you can fill out each day as you take the medication. This can be very useful to make sure you’ve taken the right things on each day — it’s easy for any of us to lose track of what we did this morning, and this is especially important if your loved one suffers from dementia. Draw up a new chart each week, or print out several templates and write the new dates on each week, so it’s easy to keep track each day.

Organise your medication

If possible, keep all the medication in the same place, and make sure they’re all very clearly labelled. If you take a few different pills each day, and they’re all in similar small bottles, consider adding bright distinct labels, so it’s easy to tell them apart.

You can also lay out a week’s dosage in advance, to help make each day a little more simple. Consider a pill box with sections for each day of the week.

Plan ahead

It’s very easy to get to the end of your medication supply by accident. At the start of each week, check how much you have left and plan well in advance to get a refill of your prescription. If you’ve drawn up a weekly chart to keep track of what you’re taking, you could add a section where you note how much is left, to remind yourself to stay on top of the supply.

Get help

Managing daily medication can be overwhelming, and sometimes a little extra help is needed. If your loved one is struggling with their regular medication, consider scheduling in a quick daily phone call to check that they’ve taken everything, or help by popping round each Sunday to lay out the week ahead’s dose.

And consider getting some extra help at home. A daily visit from a Care Professional can make a world of difference, giving seniors and their families peace of mind, knowing that there’s a daily check-in to make sure everything is in order. If you live in Camden, get in touch to talk about our in-home care services, which range from occasional visits to comprehensive physical support.