Dangerous drug interactions, skipping or doubling up on doses and running out of medication are just a few of the health issues seniors begin to struggle with when they live alone. Caregivers often grow increasingly concerned about elderly family or friends who may suffer illness or injury because of medication mix-ups. Even with visiting care support, medication management can be one of leading reasons seniors give up independence for assisted living.
Traditional medication organizers help but doses can still be spilled or mixed up and cause serious sickness, injury or even premature death. As more seniors choose to age in place, several prescription management services have begun to spring up offering prepacked, dated doses of medications, vitamins and other supplements.
Online dispensaries like PillPack and Simple Meds, package prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and vitamins in dated packets labelled with the time of day to take the medications. The medications are usually filled once a month and delivered straight to the client’s home. Caregivers can quickly check to see that medications have been taken properly and phone support is readily available. Packets are designed to be easily opened by older hands and should always be kept out of reach of children.
Some conventional pharmacies also offer weekly or monthly blister packaging cards for patients that divide dosages by day and time. By separating pills into blister packs, spilling medication, cross contamination and drug interactions can be avoided. Studies have also found calendar packaging ensures better compliance with medication regimes. Talk with your pharmacist about ordering prepackaged medications.
According the Canada’s Safety Council, nearly two-thirds of Canadians over the age of 65 take five or more prescription medications each year, not including over-the-counter medications, supplements and vitamins. The Centers For Disease Control reports that adverse drug effects are one of the top conditions that land seniors in the emergency room. To reduce the risk of harm, seniors are also encouraged to keep current lists of all medications and supplements taken and to deal with a single pharmacy to help avoid interactions between drugs, supplements or foods.