Most seniors are taking one or more prescription medications. One of the concerns in senior health is the improper use of medication – the consequences can be very serious – hospitalization or even death.
The Five Most Common Medication Mistakes which affect Seniors are:
- Taking the wrong number of pills. It is easy to take too much or too little medication – you may have forgotten to take the medication earlier in the day or forget that you did take it earlier, and double up. Also, make sure that you understand the instructions on the prescription bottle – are you supposed to stop taking the medication once you feel better, or keep taking it until you finish?
- Not telling the doctor about other medications you are taking. Always bring the doctor a complete list to review of all the medication, vitamin and supplements you are taking.
- Taking the medication with anything other than water. Medication can interact adversely with different food or drink. Grapefruit juice should not be taken with blood thinners because the enzymes in the fruit can cause adverse effects on the medication. Dairy should be avoided when taking antibiotics. Of course, taking medication with alcohol is very dangerous and must be avoided.
- Sharing someone else’s medication. Even if you have the same symptoms as your friend or neighbor, you should never take medication that was prescribed to someone else. We all have different sensitivities, allergies or health conditions which influence what the doctor will prescribe to us.
- Taking expired medication. Medication is expensive and not always covered fully by insurance. Therefore, we may hesitate to discard it and save it for a later date. Always check the expiration date and throw out any medication that is expired. Do it as part of spring cleaning – go through your medicine cabinet and discard anything past its expiration date, including vitamins. Be sure to dispose of expired medication properly so that they are not accidentally ingested by a child or a pet.
Always exercise caution when it comes to medication. Set an alarm to remind yourself to take your medication on schedule, wear your glasses if you need them to make sure you are taking the correct pills, and monitor how you feel when you take your medication. Know what side effects are normal for your medication and report to your doctor anything that is outside of that norm.