Medication is one of the primary tools our society uses to manage or prevent illnesses and health complications. They can be prescribed to your loved one after meeting with a physician or they can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) for use by the general public as needed. And while medications are meant to improve someone’s health, without proper care and management, they can end up doing more harm than good.

If your elderly loved one has been prescribed a new medication (or recommended to start taking a new OTC medication), you and your loved one should have a thorough discussion with her doctor before she even picks up the first dosage from the pharmacist. These conversations are not meant to question the doctor’s wisdom but to help ensure that both you and her doctor are fully aware of all of the information needed to make the best decision. If your loved one receives personal care at home from a trained provider, providing them with this information is also key so that they can ensure your parent is following instruction.

Here are some questions to have answered any time your loved one has to start taking a new medication, whether it’s short-term or long-term.

  • What are the basics? Find out the name of the medication (both its brand name and generic equivalent), how much your loved one should take, and why she should take are. Many people take medications not understanding what they are really for so then they are unable to share with the doctor if they are not working. If possible, get all this information in written format to review as needed.
  • How should a medication be taken? Ask about how often it should be taken, and if it needs to be taken with food or on an empty stomach. Once you know those best practices for taking the medication, have your loved one’s personal care at home provider help come up with a schedule that’s easy to follow.
  • What are the effects? Learning about how a medication will affect your loved one and how soon is another way to help your loved one measure whether or not it’s working as it should. Some medications have an immediate effect on a person’s health, some take time to build up in the system. If a medication is supposed to help your loved one reduce a symptom, a personal care at home provider can take notes on any changes they see.
  • What should you look out for? Many medications come with side effects. Knowing what is a normal side effect versus what is a dangerous side effect that needs immediate attention is important for keeping your loved one safe during the transition to a new medication.

If this new medication becomes a part of your loved one’s routine, add it to a running list of her medications that you can always easily access and provide to any medical care providers that may need it.

If you or an aging loved one is considering personal care at home in Plymouth, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.