Prescription medications: What you must do
In order to really get a handle on your seniorís prescription
medications, you must find out all of the over-the-counter drugs,
prescription medications, herbs, vitamins, minerals and any other
dietary supplements they may be taking. This project may be as simple
as lining up medications on the counter and reviewing labels or
finding prescription medications in various locations throughout the
Once you have gathered all their prescription medications, you then
need to make a chart documenting everything your elder must know about
the drugs that they are currently taking. Make an appointment with
your seniorís primary care doctor to review all the prescription
medicines and help you fill in any missing information on the drugs on
the medication charts you created. Frequently, the primary physician
may be unaware of prescription medications prescribed by other
doctors, over-the-counter drugs, and even dietary supplements which
are being used by your elder, which may put them in a dangerous
When you go to the doctor's office, ask your elderís physician the
following questions about their prescription medications:
Do my records match
with your records?
Can any of these
prescription medications be reduced or eliminated?
Will mixing any of
these drugs, vitamins or herbal remedies cause an adverse drug
Is it safe to drink
any alcohol (which is also a drug) with these prescription
Are any of these
Are there any
generics available (which are usually significantly cheaper) in this
same class of medication available for my loved one?
You should update this prescription medication chart every time a new
remedy is introduced and take it along to their appointment (including
with specialists). If a specialist prescribes a new prescription
medication you should inform your elderís primary doctor.
You should always keep the prescription medication chart in a place
where emergency medical personnel can easily find or see it (for
example, on the refrigerator door held with a magnet).
Once the prescription medications are organized and reviewed, it
doesn't matter if other individuals are involved in the process of
administering the medications according to the medication schedule.
However, they should always follow the strategies outlined on the next
Prescription Medications: Keeping Seniors Safe and Sound
Some information from Eldercare
for Dummies by Rachelle Zukerman
Additional information and webpage by
Paul Susic Ph.D.. Licensed
Psychologist (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)