They call it “running” errands for a reason – we tend to want to get through them as quickly as possible! However, when it comes to picking up prescription medications, slowing down and spending more time to talk with the pharmacist, versus hurrying through the drive-through, is very important – particularly for older adults who more often than not take a variety of meds.
The following list of questions to ask the pharmacist is an excellent starting point to make certain you and the senior you’re caring for are armed with the information needed:
- What, when and how: Most importantly, get clarification about the fundamentals, although the most critical information is normally included on the label or associated paperwork. What is the correct medication dosage? Is there a certain time of day the med needs to be taken? Will it be taken with food, water, milk, on an empty stomach, etc.?
- When errors occur: If too much or not enough of the medication is taken, or if a dose is missed, what action should be taken? What if a senior does not remember taking the med and takes a double dosage?
- Side effects: Again, this info ought to be printed out for you; however, the pharmacist can offer a helpful overview of the most typical reactions to watch for, and what you need to do if any harmful effects or an allergic reaction occurs.
- What to avoid: Some prescriptions interact adversely with others, and on occasion even with various kinds of food. Others can cause sleepiness or dizziness, rendering it dangerous to drive or operate machinery and increasing the danger of a fall.
- Time period: Will this med need to be taken continuously, or is it short-term? If long-term, exactly how many refills are included in the prescription? And is there a shelf life/expiration date? What happens in the event that medication is taken beyond this date?
Lastly, make sure to request a review of all medications the senior is taking to check for any contraindications between medications. This is specifically necessary for seniors receiving prescriptions from multiple physicians and specialists. Ask the pharmacist if there is any duplication in the senior’s list of meds to prevent overmedication. It may possibly be that one physician has prescribed a generic type of a medication, whereas another wrote the prescription for the drug’s brand name.
Live Free Home Health Care, and our Franklin senior home care experts will help make sure that seniors continue to be both informed in respect to the medications they are taking, and compliant in taking them exactly as prescribed. We’re available to pick up prescriptions, provide transportation and accompaniment to the pharmacy to permit non-driving seniors to speak with the pharmacist, prompt older adults at the correct time to take meds, and much more.