In old age, many of us rely on medication to get us through the day and help us manage any number of health problems. Sometimes getting the correct dosage is difficult - forget to take your tablets and you may suffer, but accidentally take too many, and you could become very ill. Statistics show that up to 58% of seniors make some kind of error when taking their medication, so for those wanting to maintain an independent life and continue self-medicating in their own homes, finding a reliable way to monitor their intake is vital. That’s why medication management systems are becoming increasingly popular among the elderly, offering an efficient and easy way to keep track of your tablets.
Keeping a single, up-to-date list of all your medications, the dose and when you need to take them is essential. As your treatments and doses change it can become confusing and difficult to remember, so having a single place to confirm what you need to take is very useful. Plus, having this to hand, such as stuck on the fridge, is very beneficial if someone else needs to help with your care at any point.
Due to the new HIPPA privacy relations it is essential that you have either a trusted family member or professional who has permission to speak to any healthcare team or member of staff about your treatments. This is particularly important after a hospitalisation or change in medical status where you and your representative should be able to challenge the medications prescribed and seek further advice specific to your situation.
Regardless of how much information your doctor or care physician has given you, always take time to educate yourself about the drugs you are taking which includes reading all of the literature that accompanies your medication.
Although your doctor and pharmacist should offer you the advice and help that you need, it is still important to check interactions between different drugs if you are taking multiple medications. AARP have created a very handy tool where you can enter in the drugs you are taking and find out if there are any possible interactions - if you find anything of concern contact your GP for advice before making any changes to your treatment.
If you take a lot of different medications it is often much easier to group each dose of each medication together, for example, in pill boxes. This will ensure that you don’t miss a tablet and that you’re taking the right doses throughout the day. You can even speak to your GP about ‘bubble packs’ where your medication is already prepared by dose rather than with each medication packaged separately.
The easiest way is to set up a reminder or alarm, which can quickly be done on a radio alarm clock or on your smartphone. There are even specific smartphone apps which can help you to manage your medication and ensure you take the right dose at the right times.
For extra peace of mind, telecare systems which can remotely monitor medication intake are becoming more and more common. In the United States, one company has developed an advanced system which records the blood pressure, oxygen levels and weight of patients, alerting a nurse if anything appears to be wrong. Here in the United Kingdom, personal alarms for the elderly have been used for many years and allow those on medication to call for help if they feel unwell or alert nursing staff in the event of a fall. These are often pendant alarms, worn around the neck and connected to carelines so that help can be summoned quickly when things go wrong.
Aster’s home medication management system and telecare services are a helpful and effective way of monitoring your daily dosage. Because the monitor is connected to our carelines, you can rest assured that there is always someone at the other end of the line to look after you and make sure you’re safe, and nothing is more important than that for peace of mind - for you and your loved ones.