As medicine advances, the good news is that many conditions that used to be severely detrimental in the past can be managed with medication. The challenge is that there are many of us that take a number of different medications. Add in the possibility of vitamins of supplements and there can be a lot going on. Medication management needs organization.
Easy Medication Management Tips
Keep all medications, vitamins and supplements together in one place. The trick is to begin to build a habit that will remind you to take everything you need to, when you need to. Many seniors have pill bottles all over the house. It might make sense to have the night-time meds on the nightstand and the morning meds in the kitchen near the coffeemaker. The trouble with this method is that there isn’t one place where you can do an inventory (for prescription renewals) or check for negative drug interactions (which can even happen with over-the-counter products or supplements).
Keeping all your meds in one spot will allow you to know what you have at a moment’s notice. *Of course, if a medication is required to be refrigerated (or has other storage requirements, please follow these or the instructions given by your doctor).
Create and maintain a current Medication List. Having and keeping a current list of all your meds will help you to know what you have, and to be able to give that information to your doctor, family member or healthcare worker, quickly and easily. This list should include:
- Name of medication
- Healthcare provider who prescribed it and date prescribed
- Dosage information
- The purpose of the med (what does it treat?)
Use a Pill Organizer. Daily medications are usually divided into “morning” and/or “evening” meds. Using an organizer will help you keep track of what has been taken and what hasn’t. If you have medications that need to be cut, this can be done once a week and put into the organizer for time-saving later. There are many different types of weekly organizers, from one for large pills here, one for 3-times-a-day meds here and even one for the month, twice-a-day pills here.
Reminders and Trackers. Sometimes when there are many medications to manage, it can be a challenge to know what to do when and ‘did we forget’? A good way to do this is to have a system which provides you with two things, reminders and tracking support.
Many people, young and older alike, use their technology to set reminders for themselves for all sorts of things. Phones, tablets, or even older watches and alarm clocks can be set with reminders. A phone or tablet can have numerous, daily, repeating reminders, which can be incredibly helpful for medication management.
Some kind of tracking system is also very helpful. Low-tech solutions can be a dry erase white board calendar, like this large wall sized one or even a smaller one that can be put on the fridge. Using a calendar to track will help eliminate the frustrating and potentially dangerous forgetting of meds.
Never run out of your meds. Be sure to plan ahead for refills. By using a calendar to help track medications, you can also mark when medications need to be refilled. Many doctors will prescribe a 90-day supply and may even work with online pharmacies who will ship your meds directly to you. Even most local pharmacies now have delivery services, which is much easier and more convenient than having to run to the drugstore.
Medication management can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be tough. The secret is to build a habit that supports you to be your best and healthiest self. Implementing the above tips is a wonderful start.
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