Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the reigning champ of New Year’s resolutions (as if you needed to be reminded). This top intention is typically accompanied by thoughts of treadmills and protein shakes, and while there is no doubt that diet and exercise are good for you, there is a wide variety of ways to be a healthier version of yourself in 2020.
For those taking multiple medications or those caring for someone who is, a simple audit and streamlining of your current medication management strategy is a great place to start on the journey to better health. Here are some tips for managing medication effectively.
Know your stats
By nature, people demand current information when making major life decisions regarding their families, homes and jobs. Why shouldn’t this be the approach when making critical choices regarding one’s health? Book your yearly physical for early in the year and get your most up-to-date stats so you can approach everything with all the necessary facts.
Understand the diagnosis
When it comes to medical conditions, fear of the unknown sets in quickly, right around when patients start experiencing symptoms they simply cannot explain. The urge to post up at the computer and/or start scrolling through sites and forums on a smartphone can create even more anxiety and confusion for those who are struggling to understand why they feel the way they feel. Visit your doctor and have an honest and in-depth conversation about exactly what your diagnosis means and how you can expect to be affected by it on a daily basis.
Learn what each medication actually does
Once diagnosed, ask your doctor to describe what each prescribed medication does and any potential side effects. Also, be sure to bring up anything that you are currently prescribed as to assess any potentially negative drug interactions. Always take the medicine as prescribed and read the labels carefully. This will help you start the process of scheduling your medications in a way that will allow you to get the most out of them and avoid any unpleasantness. It helps to make a current list of all medications you are on and how to take them to carry with you. Don’t forget to update as new prescriptions are added and others are phased out.
Use autofill, synchronize and delivery services (when applicable)
We’ve all been there. You wake up in the morning, head to the medicine cabinet, pull out a bottle and open it only to find out that it is empty. Missing doses of critical medication can have inconvenient and even devastating effects. Ideally, one should put in a request to refill a prescription roughly three to five days before running out. Luckily, many pharmacies now offer an auto refill service, so that when your medication starts to get low, the pharmacy will automatically refill it for you. Additionally, you can ask your pharmacist to synchronize your medications, coordinating them to be filled and ready on a single day every month.
Another service that many pharmacies offer is delivery. No more waiting in long lines to get the medications you need. You can have them delivered directly to your door and drastically reduce the chance of not having them available when you need to take them.
Schedule, automate and connect
Just because you’ve [wisely] opted to see a doctor about your symptoms instead of surfing the web, doesn’t mean that your phone can’t be a handy tool for helping you manage medication. You can use the calendar and alarm functions on your smartphone to schedule alarms that alert you when various medications should be taken.
You can automate your medications by using an automatic pill dispenser or a more advanced option like Pria, a WiFi-enabled personal medication management system featuring an easy-to-fill pill chute, facial recognition technology that alerts you when it’s time to take your medications, mobile notifications for caregivers and so much more.
So, if getting healthy is at the top of your resolution list for 2020, start with your medication management strategy. If you’re concerned about implementing a new medication management program in the new year, be sure to check in with your doctor or caregiver and work together to find the best system for you. Streamlining your strategy will help you spend less time worrying about your medications and more time focusing on health and happiness in the new year.