Managing multiple medications can be challenging, especially for an older person, or someone with numerous ailments. There are many medication management techniques that family members can take to provide the best experience to someone who is taking multiple medications. Here are three essential steps to get you started: staying organized, knowing what the medications do, and keeping open communication.
Staying organized is key to effective medication management. It is important to know which medication is used for what, what doses a loved one is taking, when each medication is to be taken, which should be taken with food, etc. Consider an automated medication dispenser or other system for streamlined daily medication. Creating an easily accessible, detailed medication list is helpful too. Find an organization system that works for you as the caregiver, your loved one and your care circle.
Know Which Medication Does What
It’s important to know what medication is being taken for which ailment. If a loved one is having side effects, this may help their doctor or pharmacist figure out which medication is causing the side effects. Caregivers need to keep track of medications to effectively handle a changed dosage. Be sure to consult doctors or other healthcare providers before changing or stopping medications.
Keep Communication Open
Within the Care Circle
Chances are that multiple caregivers, the care circle around the loved one, are involved in caring for someone who is taking multiple medications. Keep communication consistent and constant when corresponding about scheduling, medications and medical appointments. Look into different applications or programs that allow the care circle to stay in touch electronically.
With Your Loved One
Stay connected with your loved one and how they are feeling. If your or someone else schedules appointments for them, make sure they know when appointments are. Communicate with your loved one about non-health related things as well. An article from aging.com advises, “don’t give advice unless it’s asked for.” In the case of an aging parent, consider that they may well still think of themselves as the one who should be giving advice! Think from the loved one’s point of view and communicate in a manner that will be productive for everyone.
With Doctor or Healthcare Team
Keep communications open with doctors and healthcare teams. As a caregiver, don’t hesitate to ask any questions you or others in the care circle have about keeping your loved one safe. Consider looking into programs designed to help with medication management, such as Medicaid’s Medication Therapy Management.
Try These Practical Tips for Easier Multiple Medication Management
There are many tools and resources to help you keep your loved one on their medication schedule. Stay organized with medication scheduling and seek assistance or advice if needed. Create a medication list that can be brought to appointments and shared with the care circle.
There may be local services to support your loved one with tasks ranging from cooking to raking leaves to group outings. Use the tools and resources available in your community to help streamline the process of helping someone who’s taking multiple medications.