Helpful tips for managing medications for seniors made simple

Nov 22, 2022
Four tips to medication management. Source: Getty

Medications are a common part of life, especially as we get older, and in Australia two-thirds of those over 75 will be prescribed five or more medications at once.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the average Australian spends $541 each year on medication, and with seniors receiving an increased number of prescriptions, the medication cost is exacerbating the cost of living crisis for the over 60s.

With Australia’s increasingly ageing population, there’s no better time than now to be across the best tips and tricks to both save money on medications, but also administer them safely.

For seniors, 30 per cent of hospital admissions are linked to medications, roughly half of which are completely preventable.

Starts at 60 looked at some helpful tips in medication management, provided by qualified pharmacist Montana Grenfell.

Ask for a custom blister pack 

When you’ve got multiple medications on the go, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the sometimes conflicting schedules. One script may require a dose every four hours, another once every three, and a third only after every meal.

If you find it hard to remember which medication to take when, or even struggle with reading your medication packaging, let your pharmacist know. Pharmacists can create custom blister packs to help organise multiple medications by week, day and time, so you can forget about having to keep track.

If you have limited mobility and find it hard to open blister packets, mention this to your pharmacist and they’ll be able to help you find an alternative.

Keep an eye out for more affordable alternatives

Even with seniors’ discounts and concession cards, the cost of medication can quickly add up and put pressure on household budgets, particularly for pensioners.

Generic medicines offer cheaper alternatives to popular household brands while offering the exact same active ingredients, and by seeking them out on your next trip to the pharmacy, you can save some valuable dollars.

Don’t forget to speak with your pharmacist before taking any new medicines.

New medication? Don’t assume – ask questions

If you’ve been prescribed a new medication, ensure you ask any and all questions you might have.

Does it need to be stored in the fridge? Can it only be consumed straight after food? Will this new medication impact any of the others you currently take?

Understanding how this medication will impact your well-being and current practices will reduce the chance of misuse and adverse effects.

Follow directions for use and safe storage

Follow the instructions on your medication labels thoroughly to ensure you are taking your medication safely. Never stray from or create your own medication schedule, and if you are unable to read or understand the consumption instructions, visit your local pharmacist for help.

It’s also vital you ensure all medications are stored correctly. Heat, air, light and moisture may damage your medicine, so although most of us store our medicine in a cabinet in the bathroom, the heat and steam can still damage your prescriptions.

Rather, store your medication in a dresser drawer or kitchen cabinet away from the stove, oven and hot appliances.

Above all Grenfell reminds readers that “when considering a new medication, speak to your pharmacist first and always read the label and follow the directions for use as incorrect use could be harmful.”

“Some popular and affordable Australian-owned OTC options include brands like Chemists’ Own and APOHEALTH, but always check with your pharmacist before taking any new medicines,” Grenfell said.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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