Answer: There are a number of different solutions, depending on her medication routine, what is causing the difficulties, etc. When we do a geriatric care assessment, this is often one of the areas explored and it is not unusual to find problems, which as you well know can be very adverse. We tailor recommendations to the solutions that fit for the individual.
A couple of resources I can share that might work. First, you’re probably aware of simple pill boxes, where medications are laid out as to when to be taken. A family member or a R.N. from a home care company can do this. If your Mom can handle taking the medications from the pillboxes correctly, this can work. Some clients need additional reminders, and maybe it is feasible for someone in the family to call and help with this. Some pharmacies and services also package pills in easy-to-use dosages (one of our local pharmacies delivers them right to the client, packed in easy to tear off packets with all the pills for a specified time).
For other clients, especially with cognitive deficits, a more extensive solution may be needed. There are some wonderful technologies, such as electronic pill dispensers that are pre-loaded and dispense the meds. at the scheduled time. They typically sound a reminder and have different settings to help avoid missed dosages turning in to overdoses. Additionally, some of the emergency response systems (fall buttons) have options for medication reminders. Some clients may need more hands-on, personal assistance. A home care aide trained in medication assistance can be there to serve as a personal reminder. You may want to talk to a home care agency about your Mom’s specific needs and see if a reasonable plan can be worked out…with 10 prescriptions, timing may be tough so it may require some creativity or a combination of options.
I always like to go back to the basics too. I would suggest bringing this up with your Mom’s doctor (or doctors?) and asking if there are any ways to streamline the medication routine. When pills are prescribed over time (and sometimes by different specialists), the doctor doesn’t have a really good picture of how complex this can be, and obviously at this point there have been adverse effects which make this a priority. Can any of the pills be eliminated? Can some of them be taken at the same time, or a larger dosage be taken less frequently? If a review hasn’t been done recently, it is probably a good idea anyway with such a large # of medications. There are consultant pharmacists who specialize in medication reviews.
To locate experts in your state who can help you with this elder care matter, go to: www.ElderCareMatters.com/statechapters.htm
If you need answers to your elder care questions, send your questions to us at:
Answers are provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners, some of America's TOP Elder Care Professionals who have years of experience in helping families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care / Senior Care Services.
All Q&A's are posted on the homepage of ElderCareMatters.com
If you help familes plan for or deal with elder care matters, then you owe it to yourself and to families across America to become a professional member of the National ElderCare Matters Alliance and to be listed on the many Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that are sponsored by this National Alliance of Elder Care Professionals.
For additional information about professional membership in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, (including the many benefits of becoming one of our ElderCare Matters Partners) and to download an Application for your Basic, Premium or Partner Membership in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, visit: ElderCare Matters Alliance.