No matter how healthy and active older adults remain, most of us will require some pharmaceutical assistance to maintain the highest quality of life through our later years. However, effective regimens must consider ALL of your daily patterns and rituals from drinking coffee to eating to sleeping, meaning that any adjustment to your medication or habits may require multiple adjustments to the rest of your dosing (and vice versa).

Here are some medication management tips that can assist you or a loved one find a reliable approach to organizing daily doses. They will also help establish an organized system to itemize medications and supplements, should you decide to hand over the responsibility to another party.

Medication Management Tips

One of the most critical medication management tips is to take a full inventory of all medications or supplements taken, even herbal supplements or vitamins that we don’t always think of as “medicine.”

Often, these are left scattered around the house to help jog your memory to take your pills at the correct time, such as leaving a morning dose by the coffee pot and a pre-bedtime herbal remedy by the bedside. Unfortunately, although this might help you manage some of your medication dosings, it may also mean that if a doctor asks you to list all medications and supplements, you inadvertently leave out some critical items. In addition, some of these environments, like the warm, wet air typical of most bathrooms, may compromise certain medications’ potency.

The best way to guarantee that none are left out is to take every physical container and gather them in a single location (you may even track your dosing for several days, placing each bottle as you go onto a single shelf or shoebox). It’s also recommended to place a copy of every written prescription in the same area and write down the doses of any supplements you are taking without a doctor’s prescription. You may even wish to write notes on the bottles themselves in permanent marker, such as “2 capsules every day at lunch” or “1 tablet when I have trouble sleeping.”

Medication Tracking Made Simple

In the case that your medical provider believes that you are taking a manageable number of medications daily, you can use some of the following methods to remain organized:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification regarding dosing, especially if doses change in relation to how you are feeling. For example, if you only take a certain medication when you feel anxious or if your blood sugar is riding a bit higher than normal.
  • Use a presorted pill-box, and carefully distribute all doses for the entire week at one time (with the aid of a written checklist). Make sure you are fully concentrated on this task; if you are distracted by a phone call or the cat scratching at the door, you might accidentally lose count!
  • Take advantage of automated services, such as pharmacies that automatically re-fill continuing prescriptions and mail them to your home. As an extra bit of insurance, you might want to take the contained instructions and place them in the aforementioned box, which will make it much easier to track any issues.

You might also want to use an electronic device, such as your smartphone, to provide you with automatic alarms and reminders. A word of caution; you should rely on an organizational system that already works for you. Having many alarms on your phone without any idea what they mean will likely cause more stress than it saves! If a pen-and-paper organizer, a handful of post-it notes on the mirror, etc., guarantee that you will remember something without fail. That’s a great starting place for tracking your medications.

Finally, make sure to list any concerns, questions, and unusual or unpleasant side-effects in a common location such as a notebook so you can easily bring the whole list to your next medical appointment.

Transferring Medication Tracking Responsibilities to Wickshire Senior Living

One of the benefits of taking an inventory of all your medications and supplements, whether gathered in a shoebox or converted into a handy spreadsheet, is that turning over responsibility to medical support staff becomes a very fast and effective process.

Wickshire Senior Living considers medication management an essential service, allowing us to support our residents’ medical needs to the fullest.