You can’t always be there. But we can.
Something family caregivers need to do is keep track of a parent’s medications. How much do you know about your mom’s medications? Can you tell if the side effects are worrisome enough to call her doctor?
Do you know how she should take them or with what foods? Is there a specific time of day when she should take her pills? Knowledge is power when it comes to medications. These are the questions you should be asking.
What Does This Medication Do?
Ask why your mom is taking the medication she’s been prescribed. Is it a temporary situation or will she be taking it for the rest of her life?
Once you know what the medication is for, you can ask what other things your mom should be doing. If the medication is for high blood pressure, she might also have been told to change her diet to reduce sodium intake. She may have been told to get more exercise and lose weight.
Is There a Better Time of Day to Take It?
Some medications are best taken at night before bed. Others are meant to be taken in the morning. Ask the pharmacist or doctor how your mom should take this medication. If she needs to take it in the morning, your mom may need a reminder as she’s getting through her morning routine of a shower, breakfast, and coffee/tea.
If the medication is meant to be taken before bed, she may need reminders. Someone needs to remind your mom to take it during her evening routine of brushing her teeth, changing into pajamas, and shutting off lights.
Does She Need to Take It With Food?
Is your mom supposed to be taking her medication with food or on an empty stomach? If she has to take it on an empty stomach, she needs to remember to take the medication before she starts her day. If it has to be taken with food, she may need help getting breakfast together in order to take the pill on time.
What Should She Do If She Can’t Afford It?
If your mom finds the price of a prescription she takes regularly increases, she needs to talk to her doctor and/or pharmacist. There may be another medication that works the same way that’s less expensive.
She should not stop taking a medication without asking. Some medications need to be discontinued slowly. Stopping them abruptly could negatively impact her health.
Help your mom manage her medications by arranging caregivers when you’re not available. Caregivers can help her remember when and how to take her pills. They can help her refill her prescriptions when needed and pick the refill up. Learn more about medication reminders and errand services caregivers offer by calling our agency.