Caring for elderly loved ones can be a challenge, even for the most conscientious of assisted living facilities. Monitoring every aspect of another’s day can present issues that had rarely, if at all, considered. Medications often fall under the category of those things that weren’t given full thought and consideration by those at home caregivers who can get distracted by all the other chores and tasks that they are forced to take on. Caregivers sometimes mistakenly believe that as long as the medications are being taken, that all should be well. When in charge of administering a loved one’s medications make sure to avoid the following pitfalls:
- Not properly storing medications. The efficacy of a number of different medications can be vastly affected by how they are stored. Avoid the varying temps of the bathroom and kitchen, which can also become quite humid and store medicines in a cool, dark place. If it needs refrigeration remember to keep it chilled.
- Filling prescriptions at more than one pharmacy. This can lead to issues with drug interactions as the pharmacist is not getting the full history of the patient or the full pharmacology report, which can lead to dangerous drug interactions.
- Modifying pills to be swallowed. Though swallowing pills can sometimes be difficult, cutting them in half or crushing them can actually change the chemistry of the pill, possibly causing it to lose its efficacy or to lose its time-release capabilities. Ask the prescribing doctor or pharmacist if there is an alternate medication or if it comes in other forms.