Maybe all you need from a pharmacy is a tube of sunscreen, a bottle of shampoo, and a quick check out. In that case, any pharmacy will do.
But for your parents, it might be different. As we age, we typically depend on more medications to maintain the same quality of life we had as youths. When the number of pills we take a day starts piling up, it can get confusing.
Many people over 65 have a poor understanding of one or more of the medications they are taking. This is why choosing a good pharmacy, with a pharmacist who will take time to explain things, is vital for seniors.
What dad should be getting from his drugstore
With stronger drugs and more of them, it’s important to find ways to track medication use, control costs, and prevent interactions. The pharmacist who manages your parents’ prescriptions should be willing and able to do all the following:
- Recommend a good pillbox in which medications can be organized. Some people only need simple pillboxes with one compartment per day. People who take five or more medications a day may need a bigger pillbox that divides up each day’s meds into morning, afternoon, and evening. Spacing out medications can make it easier to tolerate them.
- Be enthusiastic about answering questions. Your mother should be able to easily ask a pharmacist multiple questions about her prescriptions. The pharmacist she uses should be approachable, patient, and keen for her to understand everything she wants to know.
- Recommend what meds can be taken with others. Some medications cannot be taken with others because of interactions. But many more medications can be taken at the same time. A good pharmacist should be able to tell your parents which meds can be taken together and which must be separated. In most cases, patients should only have to take medications two or three times a day, not five or six times, as many do.
- Be on the lookout for interactions. Some over-the-counter medications can interfere with prescribed meds. This is particularly applicable to allergy and pain relief medications. Pharmacists should be on the ball enough to notice that mom or dad is purchasing an OTC medication or supplement that should not be taken because of a prescribed medication.
- Make sure that their clients know what each medication is for. One pharmacy expert says that patients should be able to express what a medication is for in one word. In other words, mom or dad should be able to identify a med as “cholesterol,” “heart,” “pain,” etc.
- Make sure their clients know exactly what to do if they miss a dose. In some cases, patients need to double the dose, but in others they should only take the next dose as scheduled. Pharmacists are commissioned with making sure your parents know what is indicated.
Senior care can pinch hit
Ideally, your mother goes to the pharmacy with an advocate to make sure the pharmacist is available to help with questions and counseling. If you haven’t hired senior care, this might be a good time to consider it. In addition to helping seniors with cleaning and cooking, senior care specialists can help your loved one organize medications to avoid mistakes in dosing and provide transportation to the pharmacy.
At the pharmacy, a senior care specialist can become an advocate, making sure your mother or father gets all questions answered and understands the answers.
In conclusion, modern medicine makes a huge difference in the lives of people over 65. Medications prolong life and improve quality of life. However, seniors need to understand what they are taking and why. Make sure that your mother’s pharmacy is doing what is expected to keep her healthy and happy for the longest time possible.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Senior Care in St. Charles, MO please contact the caring staff at Autumn Home Care, LLC today at 636-448-9347.