October 2, 2020
It’s important to stay informed about the prescription medications your parents take each day. The more informed you and your parents are, the lower the risk of an accidental overdose or incorrect use of medication. These are the questions to ask during October’s Talk About Prescriptions Month.
What Medications Are You Taking and Why?
Ask your parents to show you the pills they’re taking. This includes herbal remedies, supplements, prescription medications, and over-the-counter ones. Ask them why they use it. If they don’t know, set that medication aside to research.
Why does this matter? It’s likely that your mom is seeing different doctors. For example, she might have dementia and is seeing a family doctor and a dementia specialist. Each one could be prescribing different medications. They should be communicating those changes. If they’re in different hospital networks, it may not be happening as you’d hope.
If your mom is taking an antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and anti-psychotic medication, ask her doctor why she needs all three. If she had one pill prescribed by her doctor and the other two by a geriatric psychiatrist, you want to make sure that they’re aware of the different prescriptions.
What Are the Recommendations for Taking a Specific Medication?
Go over the bottles to see if there are recommendations on when or how to take the pill. For example, some antibiotics are not meant to be taken with milk or dairy products. It can counteract the medication’s effectiveness.
If you don’t see anything, look the medication up online on a medical site like MedlinePlus.gov. See what it says there. If there are concerns that your parent isn’t taking medication correctly, call the doctor for clarification.
What Are the Medication’s Side Effects?
Go over the side effects and see if your mom or dad experience any of them. If the side effects are bothersome or disruptive to daily routines, it’s worth asking the doctor if there’s another option.
How Much Does the Medication Cost?
Georgetown Institute looked at how much adults pay for prescription medications. For those 65 to 79, around $450 is spent each year. From age 80 on, the cost increases to more than $500. And, that’s for people with health insurance. The average cost goes up if there’s a chronic health condition like diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.
If your mom or dad has to choose between electricity, heat, food, or medications, there’s a problem. You need to talk to their doctor about more affordable options.
Is Medication Management the Only Elder Care Service That’s Needed?
Do your parents struggle with their prescription medication schedule? Are they often forgetting if they took their daily pill? If they can’t remember, do they take an extra pill or skip it? Elder care can end that issue. Call an elder care representative and ask about medication reminder services from a professional caregiver. Your parents won’t miss another dose or forget to have their medications refilled when needed.