If a senior you love has been diagnosed with heart disease, you’re aware that medication management for elderly loved ones is critical. But what specifically does that mean? Here are ten helpful tips from San Diego Home Caregivers that can help your loved ones get the most from their medications:
- Know what medicines they are taking. Find out the brand and generic names and be sure you understand what each one does. Thoroughly read the patient informational sheet so you’re informed about possible side effects.
- Take the meds at the same time each day. When you partner with San Diego Home Caregivers, your loved one’s home care companion can give reminders when it’s time to take a dose. Don’t stop or modify any medication without talking it over with the doctor first.
- List out all of the medications. Include the daily dosage for each one. Keep a copy at home as well as one in a wallet or purse.
- If your loved one is having a hard time paying for the medications, ask the doctor for advice. Don’t skimp on dosages to try to save money. Doing so could be harmful to your loved one’s health.
- Speak with the doctor before taking over-the-counter medicines or herbal remedies. Some may aggravate heart failure symptoms. These include antihistamines (like Benadryl), antacids and NSAIDS (like Motrin or Advil).
- Refill prescriptions before running out of medicine. If it is difficult to get to the pharmacy, a caregiver can help you pick up the medication.
- Take medicines along when travelling and continue to take them on a normal routine. If your loved one will be away from home for a long time, take an extra week’s supply. Be sure to bring a copy of the prescriptions in case a refill is needed.
- At times, ACE inhibitors may can cause coughing. If your loved one is coughing too much and can’t sleep or perform daily activities, call the physician.
- If taking diuretics (also referred to as water pills), your loved one probably has to visit the restroom more often. If the doctor has advised one dose of a diuretic each day, take it in the morning. If two daily doses are advised, be sure to take the second one by late afternoon to avoid additional trips to the bathroom during the night.
- Be alert for signs of dehydration whenever taking diuretics. These might include intense thirst, dry mouth, dark-colored urine or reduced urine output, constipation and feeling lightheaded. If any of these red flags occur, consult the doctor prior to making any modifications in medication or fluid intake.
Professional home care companions from San Diego Home Caregivers can make life with heart disease easier to manage. They can provide support with everyday activities, prepare nutritious meals, offer medication reminders and take your loved one to doctors’ appointments and the pharmacy. Call (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our home care in La Jolla and other surrounding areas. For more information on the different areas we serve in California, please see our Communities Served page.