How to Help Your Aging Parents Take the Right Medications at the Right Time

by Dale on August 5, 2010

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Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Susan Torrico on my BlogTalkRadio Show.  Susan is a pharmacist and founder of OnTime RX, a wonderful medication reminder service.    I encourage you to listen to our entire interview to understand why it’s so important to help your aging parents be “compliant” with all their prescribed medications.  To hear the interview, click here.

As Susan shared, there is little room for error in medication for an older adult.  If they start missing dosages, take the wrong dosage or take their meds at the wrong time,  their body will no longer have the right level of drug in their system to be therapeutic.  Know that one of the common reasons for an older adult to go into assisted living or to find themselves in the ER is that they did not manage their medications correctly.

So here are Susan’s tips on ways to help our parents stay on track with their medications, no matter how complex!

  • If possible, go with your parent to their doctor’s appointments.  Make sure your parent understands what medication they are prescribed and why.  It’s important for you and your parent to have a current list of all medications to take to the doctor’s and to keep with you.
  • If your parent is a private person or gets defensive when you bring up the subject of medications and how they’re doing, Susan recommends using this strategy.  Ask your parent if they can please help you work with them…to help relieve the stress and pressure you are feeling.
  • Use ONE pharmacy for all medications.  That way any potential interactions will pop up immediately on the pharmacist’s screen.
  • Always feel free to ask the pharmacist questions.  You can also ask the pharmacist to print the Patient Information Sheet (with all the side effects) in large font.
  • One last valuable tip.  Use a digital camera to take a picture of your parent’s hand with the medications they take at each point in the day.  If they do morning, noon and night, that’s 3 pictures.  Print the photos on 8.5 * 11 paper.  And label each pill.  That picture can serve as a helpful guide to your parent.

Finally, check out Susan’s innovative service, OnTimeRX, an “automated reminder service that sends scheduled medication reminders to mobile devices and home phones.”  As Susan mentioned in our interview, OnTimeRX is being used by persons of all ages, from age 12 to 90.

  • A free trial of 10 days is offered for the phone service.  A free trial of 30 days is offered for the software service.
  • The messages are customizable (you type the message and the service uses a Text-to-Speech translator – a female voice – to say the message you want your parent to hear.)
  • You can also use the reminders for meal schedules and activities.

Susan’s goal with OnTimeRX is to help persons stay independent as long as possible, a common goal also for our aging parents.

For more information, click here.


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