Seven out of ten adults between the age of 40 and 79 take at least one prescription medication each month. Two out of ten take five or more prescription pills each month. Nine out of ten adults 80 or older take prescription medications every month. It’s not surprising that your mom takes pills each day, but is she being safe while doing it? Does she often forget if she’s taken them? If so, does she take a pill anyway, even if she may have already taken them, or does she skip it and hope she did? That can be a dangerous practice. If she has home care services an aide can oversee that she handles them properly.
Here are some things you and her home care providers can do to help her.
Talk to Her About Why She Takes Them
Make sure your mom knows why she’s taking certain medications. What health condition triggered the need for the pills? If she has anemia, her doctor will prescribe iron pills. She needs to take them to keep her iron levels up to ensure her heart and other organs get the oxygen they need.
Your mom has high blood pressure, so her doctor prescribed a beta blocker. Explain to her how the medication slows her heart by blocking hormones like adrenaline.
Ask Her Doctor or Pharmacist About How She Should Take Them
Make sure she knows how to take her pills. For example, if she’s taking iron pills, her doctor may tell her to take them with a meal to avoid stomach upset. If she’s using blood thinners, she needs to watch the foods she eats. Foods rich in vitamin K (leafy greens, broccoli, etc.) are usually restricted.
Discuss When She Should Take Them
Some pills have to be taken multiple times per day. Talk to your mom about the frequency. If she has to take them two hours before a meal, she has to get used to timing her meals. If she gets up at 6 a.m., she should take the pill first and then eat at 8 a.m.
Get a Pill Organizer and Show Her How It Works
Get a pill organizer and go over how it works. If it has alarms or lights that flash to remind her to take them, make sure she knows how to turn off the alarm once she takes her pills.
Go Over the Side Effects
Research the common side effects. When your mom takes her pills for the first week, try to have someone with her. Watch what side effects, if any, affect her the most. If she takes blood pressure medications and lightheadedness is a side effect, watch her for dizziness and make sure she doesn’t fall.
Discover the Value of Home Care Aides
It’s time to talk to your mom about her prescriptions. If she has a harder time remembering to order refills or take her pills on time, home care aides are of value. Medication reminders are a valuable service when it comes to her daily pills. Talk to a home care specialist to learn more.