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How Family Caregivers Can Help

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January 21, 2016

Every night, when Ruth called home to talk with her 89-year-old mother, the long distance family caregiver worried about her mom’s ability to manage her eight medications. She could tell her mom’s dementia had worsened, and lived in fear that the senior would make a dangerous mistake. Her fears could be justified.

One of 10 surveyed seniors had unintentionally made a mistake when taking medications, according to research conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network.

Home Instead research revealed that nearly one in five surveyed seniors experiences medication challenges related to:

  • Cost,
  • Opening medication containers (frequency is reportedly twice as high among women),
  • Reading/understanding directions, and
  • Remembering to order refills.

If you’re a family caregiver, you can assist a senior by completing the Solutions Guide to help determine the risk of medication mismanagement and tap into solutions that can help.

As a family caregiver, you can help your loved one avoid the potential pitfalls of adverse medication reactions in the following ways:

  1. Keep a copy of the senior’s most current medications.

  2. Make sure that all medical professionals who are involved in the care of or see your senior loved one—whether at a doctor’s appointment or at the hospital—have a copy of this list of medications. Remember to include on this list any supplements your loved one takes. Keep the list updated with any change in medications or medicine dosages.

  3. Be sure to include on this list any allergies or side effects that your loved one has experienced.

  4. Contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office to discover how a CAREGiver℠ could help provide medication reminders.

Providing support and encouragement by understanding the nature of your senior loved one’s prescriptions and providing assistance with such items as refilling prescriptions and medication reminders can make a difference in helping to keep your older adult safe and minimize the potential risks of medication mistakes.

For the help of a Home Instead CAREGiver, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office. And check out the signs that medications could be to blame for a senior’s health issues.

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