Skip to main content

Don't overlook simple medication management steps

August 24, 2012

Medical advancements have helped older adults stay healthy, but they have also led to seniors having to manage a number of different medications. While there are certain gadgets that can help them take the right pills at the right time, it's still crucial for them to follow the basics of medication management.

As many as 700,000 Americans enter the hospital each year due to ill effects of certain drugs, so it's important for them to make staying organized part of healthy aging, notes the University of Minnesota. Luckily, there are a number of easy-to-follow tips that can reduce the chances of entering the hospital.

"For anyone personally taking or administering numerous medications to others, it's important to understand what's being taken, the medication's purpose and what the appropriate dosage is," said Sarah Westberg, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Pharmacy.

Perhaps most importantly, seniors should meet with their pharmacist to discuss what each medication does and what the possible side effects are. This is especially important for people taking three or more drugs because it can allow patients to better manage their conditions.

Furthermore, while there are helpful programs on smartphones or electronic devices, it's imperative for seniors to manually keep track of their medication. This way, it will be easier for seniors to identify any medication issues. Finally, seniors on multiple medications should make a point to take note of the expiration dates of their medications and take advantage of pill organizers to simplify the process.

While it may seem like common sense, medication management is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle for seniors because misreading labels is more common than one might think. A recent Kansas State University study found older adults may end up overlooking warning labels, which can cause a dangerous medication mistake.