Many things in life are uncertain, but aging is an inevitability. As we get older, taking multiple medications for different health conditions is not uncommon. Unfortunately, however, without proper care and management, seniors may take a higher dosage than required, miss doses altogether, or even take the wrong medication. This is why it is so important for seniors and their children to implement a simple system to help avoid these common mistakes. To help get you started, we want to share with you a few ways to help the senior loved one in your life safely manage his or her medications.
- Make a list.
It is important to keep a record of the names, dosages, and frequency of all medications your loved one’s doctor prescribes. Do not forget to include any over-the-counter medication your loved one may be taking! By keeping this detailed list, your loved one and any caregivers or new doctors can easily see the types of medications your loved one is currently taking. This can help ensure your loved one is taking their medication safely and is not prescribed any medications that may have a negative effect.
- Do your research.
Just because your loved one’s doctor prescribes them a new medication, does not mean you cannot ask questions and do some research of your own. Feel free to ask the doctor why they are prescribing a particular medication, why it is to be taken during the day or at night, and whether it should be taken with food. The more you know about your loved one’s medication intake, the easier it will be to create a routine and keep track of each medication your loved one is taking.
- Separate the medications.
If your loved one’s doctor requires him or her to take multiple medications each day, it can be confusing to keep track of their medication intake. Utilizing a pill box, for example, can be an effective way to safely separate your loved one’s medication. Pill boxes are typically labeled with the days of the week and are available in different colors so you can separate the medications based on whether they need to be taken during the day or at night.
- Use an alarmed medication reminder.
If your loved one needs a stronger reminder to take his or her medication than a sticky note or pill box, consider purchasing a medical alert device. These devices are specifically tailored to remind your loved one to attend doctor’s appointments, take medication, or check-in with loved ones. These reminders are easy to set and can be adjusted at any time based on your loved one’s daily routine.
We know that caring for a senior loved one can be challenging at times. If this article raised more questions than answers for you or if you are in need of further suggestions for ways to manage your loved one’s medication intake, do not wait to contact us with your questions.
We each have different things that we enjoy most about the holiday season. Most of us can agree, however, that the holidays are a great chance to catch up with family members and spend quality time with our loved ones. While you are checking in with your loved ones during the holidays this year, have you given some thought to sharing your estate plan and planning goals with the people who mean the most to you? It may seem like an unconventional time to discuss plans for when you are no longer here, but in reality it is important that your loved ones understand your decisions and the legacy you wish to leave for them.
Before discussing your plans with your loved ones, we encourage you to take some time to think about your planning goals and how your estate plan is set up to accomplish them. Refreshing your memory to remember the reasons for making each decision will likely make it easier for you to express your thought process behind those decisions to your loved ones. Clear communication is key to helping alleviate any uncertainty or family conflict that may arise after your passing in an already difficult time. It is also important to consider how you would like the conversation to proceed. Would you prefer to bring documents with you, for example, to illustrate your plans or would a brief conversation initially suffice?
During the conversation, allow your loved ones to voice their opinions, share their concerns, and ask questions. Listen to your loved ones’ worries and validate their feelings, but remember that your estate plan is your creation and you should stand by the planning decisions you have made. The key to having an effective discussion about your estate plan is transparency. Above all, do not let this be the last conversation you have about your planning decisions. We encourage you to update your loved ones about any changes made to your planning documents, so they feel involved and informed about the planning process.
Do not wait until it is too late to have this conversation with your loved ones. We know this can be a difficult discussion to have, but think about the family values you wish to pass on and the reason why you created an estate plan in the first place. Remember, we are here to be a resource for you. If you need further advice or have questions about anything discussed here, do not wait to contact us.