April 11, 2011
Safe medication management involves give and take between your senior loved one and his or her doctor and pharmacist. You are an important supporter as well for Mom and Dad. You can accompany your parents to the doctor or pharmacy to make sure they ask the right questions.
If you can't be there, CAREGiversSM from Home Instead Senior Care® often are asked by family members to go with an older adult to the doctor, serving as a second set of eyes and ears.
Consider the following important questions from Home Instead Senior Care and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) that seniors should ask a doctor whenever they are prescribed a new medication:
- What is the name of this medication and why do I need it?
- What is this medication supposed to do?
- What is the correct dosage?
- How does this drug interact with other medications I am taking?
- How do I take it—with or without food?
- When do I take it—a.m. or p.m.?
- What are the benefits and risks of the medication?
- What are the side effects of the medicine, and what do I do if they occur?
- What food, drinks, other medicines or activities should I avoid while taking the medicine?
- How often must the doctor check the medicine's effects? For example, checking your blood pressure if you are taking a medicine to lower it, or having a laboratory test done to make sure the levels of medicine in your blood are not too high or too low.
- Do I need a refill and how do I get one?
- Is there written information I can take home about the medication? (Most pharmacies have information sheets on your prescription medicines.)
Seniors who are seeing many doctors are at increased risk of medication problems. Try to ensure that older adults have one doctor overseeing all of their medications.
Also, look for an independent pharmacy or a specialist in geriatrics, or a pharmacist specialized in the unique medication needs of the older population. Go to www.medsandaging.org to find such a pharmacist near you and to learn more about talking with your doctor.
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