5 Medication Management Tips for Seniors

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Older man taking prescription medications and in need of medication management tips for older adults
March 11, 2024

Do you have countless pill bottles unorganized in your bathroom cabinet? Are you constantly forgetting to take your medications on the correct days, and at the correct times? Are you taking so many different types of medicine that you are unsure of what ailment each is even for? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this blog post on tips for medication management may help!

Medication management is endlessly important, especially for seniors who often have an increased number of medications they are simultaneously taking. We all have busy lives, whether you are working or retired, and unfortunately, it is easy for medication management to get disorganized. However, the management of your medications should be paid attention to, as your health and safety are top priorities.

By properly managing your medications with the help of your senior primary care provider, you can erase feelings of confusion and doubt surrounding your prescribed supplements. Keep reading to learn how!

The Importance of Medication Management for Seniors

Before we jump right into medication management tips, let’s first touch on why medication management is important for seniors, in particular. You may wonder, if I have a set way of organizing and keeping track of your medications, why change it? Well, the problem is that a very large number of people do not manage their medications appropriately, which puts their health in danger. According to a study conducted by Express Scripts, out of 600,000 patients taking medications, 39% didn’t take their medications regularly due to forgetfulness, 20% did not renew their prescriptions on time, and 10% missed multiple doses due to a lack of refills [1]. Not adhering to the specific guidelines and schedule for your medications can lead to an increased risk of side effects, withdrawals, and even premature death [2]. 

To avoid potential complications and risks, there are a few simple tips you can employ in your routine that will help you manage your medications more effectively. These best practices aren’t made to be tedious but instead enforced to positively impact your health and quality of life. The last thing you want to do is worsen a condition you are already taking medication for, so partaking in these management tips is in your best interest. Ultimately, it will help enhance your independence and ability to function. 

Medication Management Tips for Seniors

Without further ado, here are our top tips for managing your medication as a senior.

Create a Medication Schedule

To reduce the risk of forgetting to take your medication or refill a prescription, create a medication schedule. This can be a physical calendar/agenda, a virtual set of reminders on your phone, or both. Use whatever tactic you find is most effective for getting you to take your medications on time. Once you take your medication, make sure to mark the task as completed on your schedule to avoid forgetting and taking an extra dose accidentally. 

Keep an Updated Medication List

As a senior, you are likely taking more than one medication at a time. Some may be taking more than five. Remembering all the medication names and correct doses, as well as changes/updates to doses made by your doctor, can become difficult. To combat this, keep a physical or virtual list of all the medications you take. This includes even over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen or seasonal allergy medication, and vitamins. It is important to include these supplements as well because certain medications your doctor prescribes may interact with over-the-counter medications. 

By keeping a list of medications, you can ensure that you accurately remember all the medications you are currently taking, the date you began taking them and their correct prescription. You can also write notes about side effects or specific protocols on the list. Additionally, you should keep this list handy when you visit your doctor or specialist, who may ask about your medication history. A list makes things more organized and accessible for everyone. 

Organize Medications for Convenience

If you have a medicine cabinet filled to the brim with full bottles, empty bottles, and old supplements, this tip is for you. Take some time to sort through your medications and organize them for easy access. Use a pill organizer to sort out which medications to take on which days, and section off your medications when storing them. This will make it so much easier to notice when you are running low on medication or find a specific medication when needed. 

Be Mindful of Potential Side Effects

Almost all medications have potential side effects, no matter how “low-stakes” the medication is. Recognize and ask about the common side effects of each medication you take, and make a note of them so you can consider whether you are experiencing them. Ask your doctor which side effects require immediate attention. For example, many medications may cause a headache, which in most cases, is not a serious side effect and doesn’t require an immediate trip to the doctor. However, experiencing more serious side effects, like fainting or vomiting, may require immediate attention. The only way you’ll know which side effects to look out for is by researching and speaking to a medical professional [3]. 

Consult with a Healthcare Provider Regularly

As previously mentioned, speaking to your senior healthcare provider and asking questions about your medications is important to manage them effectively. Address your concerns about side effects and adjustments to medication plans honestly so that you and your provider can work together to find a treatment plan that works well for you. 

How Does Primary Care Incorporate Medication Management?

Senior-focused primary care physicians play an important role in medication management. They are knowledgeable professionals who know exactly which medications to prescribe to each individual, taking their genetics, other disorders, and lifestyles into account. Primary care physicians will oversee medication plans and adherence to scheduling as well as collaborate with other healthcare professionals for comprehensive care. They believe that medication management is an important part of their job, and look to make strides in improving it every day to further benefit their patients [4].

Medication Management for Seniors at Greater Good

Greater Good Health believes in holistic health, which can be described as wellness in all areas of your life. We encourage readers to contact us for more information!