As we age, medicine can become a much larger part of our everyday lives. From preventive medicine to daily pills, it's estimated that senior citizens fill between 9 to 13 prescriptions per year. While doctors are there to write and provide information regarding prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines, safety tips can sometimes fall between the cracks.
These tips are crucial when it comes to knowing safe dosages of medications, safe supplements to take, how to consume herbal preparations safely, and more.
Seniors are more likely to take multiple supplements, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medicines daily. This can increase the chance of harmful side effects, leading to potential complications. To avoid these problems, we've compiled medication safety tips for seniors.
Medication Safety Tips for Seniors
- Don't skip doses or stop taking a prescribed medication without consulting your health care provider. Even if you're feeling better or think the medication isn't working, it's always best to follow instructions according to the doctor's orders.
- Store your medication properly and check the expiration dates. Certain medications must be stored in the refrigerator, while others can't be exposed to high heat. Failing to follow storage instructions can result in the medication expiring early.
- Know the possible mediation interaction effects. For example, most antibiotics strongly recommend avoiding alcohol. Understand what you can and can’t mix with your medication and understand the side effects.
- Keep a medication list! Whether you write it down on your phone, take pictures of each medicine with the name and dosage, or have a physical list. Knowing what medication your own and their dosages is extremely important in the case of an emergency.
It's always best to consult your doctor or a pharmacist if you have questions regarding your medication. And, of course, don't take prescription medication that your health care provider has not prescribed you. Furthermore, if you start to experience any side effects while taking a new or old medication, contact your doctor right away.