Mary Alexander: Hello! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care and today I am going to discuss the importance of knowing as much as you can about, our aging parents medical conditions and medications.
If you have aging parents who are seeing multiple doctors and receiving multiple medications; they may be at an increased risk for medication related problems. In fact, many seniors have three or more factors that put them at risk for medication related problems.
These factors include receiving prescriptions from more than one doctor, living alone, vision problems or poor eye sight, taking five or more medications including over the counter or supplements, being hospitalized in the last 12 months, memory problems, filling prescriptions at more than one pharmacy and financial issues that make it difficult to fill prescriptions.
In addition, here is a starling statistic. Senior represents some 13% of the population, yet they consume 40% of prescription drugs and 35% of all over the counter drugs.
According to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacist, one of the most important things to know about safe medication management is that it requires proactive communication between the patient and the doctor. Remind your senior to tell their doctor about all the medicines, they are taking. This includes prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, laxatives and vitamins supplements.
There are also many important medication related questions for seniors to ask their doctors, such as, how does this drug interact with other medications, I am taking? What are the benefits and risk of this medication? What are the side effects of this medicine and what do I do if they occur? What food, drink other medicines and activities should I avoid while taking this medicine.
Family caregivers can help by writing key questions down ahead of time and by trying to ensure that their senior parents have one doctor overseeing all of their medications. And if your parent is willing it's a good idea to have a family member go with them to their doctor appointment, to help ensure the doctor's recommendations can be reinforced and followed when they get home.
Pharmacists are another important source for medication information. Most pharmacies have written information sheets on prescription medicines. Pharmacist can answer questions about the medications being prescribed and possible interactions with other drugs.
However, they cannot discuss diagnosis. Family caregiver serve an important function with regard to senior's doctors and medication management and can help to reduce the risk of medication related problems for their aging parents.