6 Tips for Handling Your Aging Parent's Prescription Medication New York Health Works

6 Tips for Handling Your Aging Parent’s Prescription Medications

A 2017 study revealed that more than 55% of Americans are taking prescription medication. With the number of prescription medications on the rise, it’s inevitable that one of your loved ones will be prescribed medication as well.

If you are in a caretaker position or have aging parents, you might find yourself needing to engage in a conversation about medication. In this article, we’re sharing our best practices for connecting with your loved ones about the medications they’re taking.

1. Make a list of all the medications they’re taking.

As the number of medications or supplements we take increases, it becomes easier to forget what we’re taking. Start by making a list of all the medications, supplements, and over-the-counter remedies your parent is taking so you can share with their doctor.

2. Take care when asking questions.

It can be easy to take a question as a judgment, especially when the topic is a sensitive subject. Keep tone of voice in mind when asking questions about prescription dosage, frequency, and if they’ve been taking their medications. Position yourself as a support for them, not as the person in charge of their health.

3. Share only with supportive people.

Managing your family member’s medications can be stressful at times. Having someone to talk to during those times is helpful. When choosing who to share with, pick those who are going to be the most supportive, not those who are going to get overly involved.

4. Don’t play doctor.

While it may be tempting to do your own research into the medications your family member is taking, leave that job to their doctor. If you’re not a qualified health professional, you should not get involved with which prescriptions your family members are taking.

5. Make sure to dispose of old prescriptions safely.

It’s very common to find a medicine cabinet full of various medications, many of which are unused or expired. If you find outdated prescriptions, dispose of them properly (such as on Take Back Day). This will keep your loved one from accidentally consuming the wrong prescription.

6. Ask about alternative options for administering medicine.

As the number of medications increases, it can be daunting for your parent to think about taking their pills. Talk with their doctor or pharmacist about other options, such as a liquid option or pill crushing that can then be sprinkled on food.

While this position isn’t an easy one, it’s a much-needed one. The evidence shows that medication adherence is crucial to long-term health, especially for those with a chronic illness, such as arthritis, diabetes, or COPD. Our hope is that these tips empower you and your loved ones to live a healthy, happy life.