Quick and Easy Steps to Monitor Medications

Pills, pills, and more pills. Senior citizens take an average of 6 to 8 prescription medications, herbal supplements, and over-the-counter drugs per day. For some people, it can be an overwhelming responsibility to manage. To compound the problem, many elders avoid going back to their physicians to have their medication dosages monitored, evaluated, and changed when necessary, or when new medications are added by different physicians.                                                                                                     
With the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia on the rise, it is imperative to ensure you or your elder family member does not suffer from unintended symptoms associated with over medication. Not only is over medication and drug interaction potentially fatal, they both can cause memory loss, confusion, and other symptoms which resemble forms of dementia. Since individuals with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia require special care, it is critical to know precisely the root cause of any medical symptoms or side-effects. Did you know that even seemingly harmless foods, such as grapefruit juice for example, can interact dangerously with some medications? 
1.  Make a list of all prescriptions, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs you or your elder parent takes. Then, provide this list to ALL physicians.

2. Make copies of the medication list. Give a copy to each physician, keep one for your records, and make sure your parent has a copy that is easily accessible. 
3. Use the same pharmacy. Pharmacies keep records of medicines prescribed by physicians. By always using the same pharmacy, records will be easier to access and hopefully consolidated
4. Use a daily pill dispenser or pill box  
5.  Check-up on your elder parent periodically to ensure that they understand which medicines to take at what times, and in what dosage. If you are an elder patient yourself, update your list as soon as a new medication is prescribed and record any side-effects or symptoms you experience.

If you have a parent who is beginning to suffer memory loss and/or mental confusion, be sure to have a physician review your parent’s medications.  If medication errors are not at fault and a dementia diagnosis is made, the proper legal planning should be done as soon as possible

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