ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Caring for an Elderly Loved One Who Takes Multiple Medications

Updated on July 31, 2013
Elderly Companion
Elderly Companion | Source

Why Medication Management is Important

It is common for Elderly and Senior individuals to take more medications than the rest of the general population. As health falters and Elders develop health issues or chronic illnesses, medications can take the form of various prescription drugs, over-the-counter-drugs, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

Polypharmacy is the use of multiple medications by a patient - usually 5 or more. Although in many cases, the use of multiple medications is appropriate, it can still be dangerous when your loved one doesn't have a good medication management system in place or because of the potential interactions that one drug may have with another - creating unwanted side effects that can be mistaken for a symptom of an illness.

Doctors and pharmacists aim to decrease the risk of drug interaction, but this task can be difficult especially if your loved one has been prescribed medications by different doctors or your loved one takes vitamins, herbal supplements, or over-the-counter drugs that your doctor doesn't even know about.

What You Can Do:

  • Gather a list of all the medications your loved one takes that includes drug name, dosage size, and recommended dosage. Visit your primary doctor to discuss the safety of all the medications taken and to look for any unwanted drug interactions. Use the "brownbag" method and put all the medications your loved one takes in a bag to the doctor visit.
  • See if the doctor can simplify the patient's medication intake by prescribing only one medication instead of multiple to treat a condition or choosing a medication that doesn't need to be taken three times a day. Duplicate medications MUST be eliminated.
  • Obtain your medications from only one pharmacy so that only one pharmacist is informed of the medications your loved one is taking and they can look out for any potentially negative drug interactions in addition to your primary doctor.
  • Always be knowledgeable about the side effects of each medication and be sure to look out for them. If your loved one is experiencing the side effects of a medication, the doctor may mistake it for a symptom of chronic illness and prescribe even more medication. A rule of thumb is to consider any new symptom as drug-related until proven otherwise.
  • Be weary and keep a close lookout for any new signs or symptoms your loved one is experiencing that could be attributable to a medication side effect. If you do notice something new, keep a journal log of your suspicions and discuss with your doctor as soon as possible.

Medication Organization

Medication adherence is of critical importance to ensure your loved one's safety and well-being when taking multiple medications. Elderly individuals who live independently have the highest probability of being non-compliant to taking their medication consistently. This irresponsible behavior can have deadly consequences, especially in the case of an overdose or too much dose skipping.

It's not uncommon for Elders and Seniors to not have a good medication management system in place for responsible organization. First and foremost, it's important that your Elderly or Senior loved one understands why they must take each specific medication. Pill organizer boxes are one of the most common ways for Elders, Seniors, and Caregivers to ensure that medication is taken on time and to limit confusion when there are multiple medications to be taken.

Pill Organizer Management & Organization Tips:

  • To more easily remember which medications are which, consider using a marker to write information in larger text that is easier to read. For example, you can write "Arthritis Pain Take With Meal 3 Times a Day." This will make transferring medication to a pill organizer easier as well.
  • Choose a Pill Organizer that has more than one section for each day to represent times of the day that medication needs to be taken, for example, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Bed Time. Find one day during the week where you can refill the pillbox for the next week's daily dosages.
  • Choose a Pill Organizer that is most convenient for your loved one - whether you choose one that is for one day, each day of the week, or the full week. Choose an Organizer that is able to detach a day's supply in case your loved one is out in town for the day.
  • Electric Pill Organizers can be advantageous because they have alarm clocks that can remind you of when you need to take medication.
  • Document everything. Keep a list that includes each medication's name, what it's for, recommended dosage, potential side effects, when it was prescribed, and who prescribed it.

Personal Care
Personal Care | Source

The Importance of Working Together

Physicians, pharmacists, and caregivers of an Elderly individual all play a crucial role in ensuring health and safety with medication. Various factors at home or personality traits can sometimes make it difficult for your loved one to pay great attention to their medication management, but as caregivers, we can help enhance the quality of life of Elderly individuals by staying well-informed about the risks of medication misuse.

About A-1 Home Care | A-1 Domestic


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)