A large percentage of the U.S. aging population is taking multiple medications (5-10 or even more) per day. Proper management of these medications is vital as the consequences can be quite serious.
“There’s plenty you can do to help you and your loved ones manage the many prescription medications they may deal with on a daily basis,” says Denise Aarons, Home Health Manager at East Ridge. “Among the services our home health team offers is organizing medications in a pill pack for optimum health and safety.”
When a person must deal with multiple prescriptions on an ongoing basis it is important they take the correct dose of the correct medication at the correct time and in the correct way. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as much as half of the prescribed medications in this country are taken incorrectly, specifically regarding timing, dosage, frequency and duration. Some simple aids for managing medications include pill organizers, reminder services or custom packaging of each day’s medication regimen in individual, sealed packets.
It’s important to know what your medications do and what each one is for. Most pharmacies include a helpful information sheet with every prescription. Read them and be aware of what you or your loved one is consuming. Know the side-effects and interactions of your meds, with the help of your doctor, a pharmacist and/or with your own research. Posting a list of medications, dosage and frequency on a refrigerator is very helpful should there be a 911 call for medical assistance.
East Ridge provides residents with monthly screenings to make sure that each resident stays safe and healthy. These include blood pressure and blood sugar checks, a hearing aid specialist and other health and wellness vendors to answer questions.
Here are some tips to help keep your “medicine cabinet” safe and up to date:
• Many people store medicine in the bathroom but a hot, damp bathroom can deteriorate some medications. The traditional medicine cabinet is not really the best place for them. Check the labels for storage advice and keep the sensitive ones in a bedroom drawer or kitchen cabinet.
• Keep an eye on the expiration dates on your pill containers and don’t go past that date. Some meds can be used beyond that date, but check first with a pharmacist.
• We’re just now learning the hazards of flushing old medications into the environment. Many medication labels come with printed instructions for proper disposal. The staff at East Ridge can help residents dispose of unwanted pharmaceuticals.
• The way antibiotics work; they should be taken until they’re finished. Some people stop taking them once they feel better, but that just helps produce strains of drug-resistant microbes. You should always finish any prescribed antibiotics, but if there are leftovers for some reason, they need to be disposed of properly. Again, the East Ridge staff can advise you on this.
• The Aspirin Age, when we could blithely take whatever the medical industry offered us, is long past. We now know that some common painkillers can be dangerous. If you’re going to take analgesics — whether prescription or over-the-counter — for an extended period of time, be sure to read up on their side-effects and store in a safe area.
Walgreen’s pharmacists visit East Ridge during flu season and our home health staff at East Ridge is ready to help residents with medication issues at any time. Be smart about your medications, stay safe and healthy.
About East Ridge
East Ridge at Cutler Bay is Miami-Dade County’s only true life care retirement community. The not-for-profit community draws from the neighborhood charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush tropical setting of 76 acres, located at 19301 S.W. 87th Avenue. The community offers a continuum of care including independent and assisted living apartment homes in a neighborhood setting, respite and skilled nursing care, and rehabilitation services available within Three Palms Health Center. For more information or to schedule a tour, please call (305) 256-3564 visit www.EastRidgeAtCutlerBay.com.