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Senior Medication Management: Avoiding the Medication Quagmire


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December 7, 2010

When visiting your 85-year-old dad, you see bottles of medication on the kitchen counter, on the bathroom counter and on his nightstand. You wonder how he is keeping all of his medications straight. What do you ask?

It's good to use humor and, in a situation like this, to assume that he is keeping them straight (innocent until proven guilty). There may be good reasons why some of his medications are in the kitchen (he's taking them with food), while others are on the nightstand (he's taking them before bed). Pointing to a bottle and asking, "How the heck do you keep all these pills straight, Dad?" would be a good conversation starter. If the response includes the reasons you suspected above, then it sounds like things are under control. If, however, he says, "I don't know. I do my best. I'm not even sure what some of them are," then the situation probably needs more attention. If he's having a problem, talk to him about a pill organizer, which could help him keep his medications better organized: "Dad, I've heard about organizers that can help you keep all your pills in one place and make it easier for you to keep them straight. Why don't I check into it?" In addition, one service that many in-home senior care giving organizations provide seniors is medication reminders to assist them in managing their daily medications.

Research: Forty-nine percent of adult children said they were interested in learning more about their parents' medication management.

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