The Age Old Question: Did I Take My Medicine When I Was Supposed To?

As we get older, health issues can become more common, and many require management with medication. Research shows that 44 percent of men and 57 percent of women older than 65 take five or more medications per week and 12 percent of both men and women take 10 or more prescription and over-the-counter medications per week. Medication management for seniors can be complicated and keeping track of timing and doses is an important part of maintaining your health. With the right systems and tools—plus regular doctor visits—seniors can take charge of their medication management and stay healthy and vital for years to come.

One way to overcome the hurdles of medication management is to use a a pharmacy like Grane Rx. They are a high-touch senior care pharmacy and medication management provider. The organization’s end-to-end services include clinical consulting, staff training, on-going staff support, pharmacy transition facilitation, precision medication prescribing, and state-of-the-art pharmacy automation. All solutions are designed to streamline senior care operations, optimize care and manage costs. Grane Rx solves medication management issues for Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) programs and their participants in 4 easy steps:

  1. Provide Simplified Packaging – medications are already presorted by date and time of administration in a simple to understand medpacks.  No need to sort or handle medications and the whole packaging process is 100% automated.
  2. Smart-Label Color Coded Boxes – SimplePack medications are shipped directly to the participant’s home in a unique recyclable, color-coded box. Blue boxes are for cycle/routine medications, and Red boxes are for PRN/As Needed medications.  We have found that older adults achieve higher levels of medication adherence when greater levels of understanding are achieved. Grane Rx leads the field in this area with customized packaging labels that include high-resolution images, medication calendar, the reason for administration, and simple directions available in English, Spanish, and French. 
  3. EasyRead Medication Literacy and On-demand Videos: Included with all medication shipments and packaging types are personalized medication calendars, and simplified medication information inserts written at a grade five reading level and translated into 22 additional languages. Medication instructions for participants/families improve medication regimen adherence. Video instruction is another powerful education tool available for seniors with a variety of learning styles and needs for reinforcement.
  4. Convenient Home Delivery: Our team of private couriers provide a concierge level of home delivery service that includes call ahead notification, three separate attempts, delivery signatures, and personalize attention.  

If you are unable to use a service from a company like Grane Rx, then there are steps you can take to prevent any accidental medication misuse. Putting a simple system in place and taking care of the basics helps seniors avoid common medication mistakes like taking the wrong drug, missing doses, or taking more than prescribed.

Keep a Detailed List

While your doctor should be aware of all the medications you’ve been prescribed, it’s best to keep your own detailed list of which medications you’re currently taking, including prescriptions, vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements. Not only can this prevent you from taking medications with bad interactions, but it also allows you and your doctor to see a more comprehensive view of your treatment. When making your list, include information about what the medication is for and any side-effects you notice, including if and when they go away.

Try a Pill Organizer

It may seem obvious but using a pill organizer can be a great way to ensure that you aren’t missing any doses of your medications. Not only can you separate pills by day of the week, but some pill organizers have separate compartments for morning and evening medications, making it even easier to track which pills you’re supposed to take when. One added benefit of pill organization is that if you fill your organizer at the beginning of the week, this can alert you to any medications that need to be refilled, giving you plenty of time to contact your doctor or pharmacy.

Set Reminders

We can all use reminders, and setting a smartphone, watch, or alarm clock with daily alarms is a great way to make sure you don’t miss any doses of your medications. If you don’t like setting reminders, try tying the action of taking a pill to something that’s part of your daily routine. You might, for example, take your morning medications while you wait for your coffee to brew or take your nighttime meds right after you brush your teeth.

Pay Attention to Instructions

Different medications have different instructions that can be very important for the effectiveness of the medication and for preventing side effects. Some prescriptions should be taken food with food or water, and certain medications can be negatively affected by the active ingredients in other medications. Depending on which medications you take, you might not realize that many doses have storage recommendations. Insulin, for example, requires refrigeration, and many medications do best in dry, cool rooms, which means you may want to avoid storing them in steamy bathrooms.

Avoid Pharmacy Hopping

While many people think of pharmacists as someone who hands them a pill bottle, they have a wealth of knowledge and information which can be incredibly helpful in maintaining your health. If you get most or all your medications at the same pharmacy, the pharmacist gets to know you better and has a more comprehensive view of your overall health. Plus, having your prescriptions at the same pharmacy can help prevent confusion and help ensure that you’re always getting everything you need.

Whether you’re a senior trying to keep track of a long list of prescriptions or a caregiver trying to help, these medication management tips can help you save time, eliminate confusion, and stay on top of prescribed (and over-the-counter) medications.