For many Americans, their local pharmacist is the most common point of contact with their larger healthcare network, however this resource often goes underused by many older adults.
In this blog, we will review five ways your local pharmacist can assist an older adult beyond filling your prescriptions.
Why focus on pharmacists?
Unlike physicians and other specialists, pharmacists are generally much easier to contact without a lengthy appointment. Also, most Americans are already spending more time at the pharmacy than their physician’s office already – a recent report indicates the average American visits their pharmacist two times as frequently as their primary care physician.
Finally, while an older adult may visit multiple specialized doctors, all prescriptions typically go through a single pharmacist’s office, meaning your local pharmacist has the clearest picture of your entire medication schedule.
Older adults are typically prescribed more and more medication as they age, especially if they are managing multiple medical conditions.
One way your pharmacist can be a critical help is to periodically review the various medications you take to identify possible harmful interactions, as well as strategies to avoid or mitigate side effects from your medication schedule.
Get started now: Consider calling your local pharmacist and schedule a visit to review your current medications. Be sure to bring a list of all the current medication you take (including over-the-counter medicine) and any side effects or symptoms you have noticed.
For the future: Any time you receive a new prescription, be sure to ask your pharmacist if there is a risk for any adverse interactions between your medications.
Medication Adherence and Scheduling
Another way pharmacists can help is by assisting older adults in building a schedule for when they take their medication.
Many seniors with multiple medications stretch their intake out over the course of the day for fear of negative drug interactions. While caution with prescription medicine is good, setting up a schedule with multiple medication times increases the risk of forgetting one or more doses over the course of a day.
With your pharmacist’s help, you can determine when each medication should be taken and build a simplified schedule that lowers the risk of forgetting a dose.
Some medications can increase a senior’s risk of falls, but thanks to a partnership between the National Council on Aging and the American Society of Consulting Pharmacists, your local pharmacist now has tools available to prevent this possible hazard.
Ask your pharmacist if they have a fall prevention toolkit and consider scheduling an appointment to review your current prescriptions. If you are found to be at risk of falls, your pharmacist may be able to recommend alternate prescriptions that have a lower impact on balance, coordination, vision, and other factors that contribute to fall hazards.
Continuity of Care
Many seniors, especially those managing multiple chronic conditions, may see multiple doctors and specialists to stay healthy. Unfortunately, these care providers rarely speak to one another and thus may prescribe medications that may improve one condition, but exacerbate another.
Because they see and fill your prescriptions, your pharmacist may very well be the best-positioned healthcare provider to review your various treatments.
If you manage multiple chronic conditions, or see multiple doctors, you should set aside time with your pharmacist to list your chronic conditions, treatment, and provide contact information for your various healthcare providers, giving the pharmacist a clear picture of your full health outlook and all the tools needed to ensure overlapping medications do not result in negative side effects.
Keeping medication affordable
Another common medication-related challenge for seniors is being able to afford a growing number of prescription drugs while on a fixed income. Fortunately, your local pharmacist can be a huge help.
If you are concerned about your spending for medication, or if you simply want to learn about less expensive alternatives, speak to your pharmacist about lower-priced generic versions of the medication you are currently prescribed.
Your local pharmacist is an exceptional resource for healthy aging and we encourage everyone to develop a strong relationship with this often underutilized healthcare specialist.
If you or a loved one are having difficulty managing multiple medications, medical conditions and doctor’s appointments, consider calling SelectCare today.
Our team of home health care experts promotes continuity of care by coordinating with your existing healthcare providers, including specialists and pharmacists, while our in-home care providers can be a huge help in maintaining a regular medication schedule.