Medications and supplements can be confusing, especially for seniors, but they are an essential component to their physical and mental well-being. It’s easy to forget that the occasional headache or upset stomach may be a side effect from medications, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, vitamins or supplements, but it happens.
Considering the average senior takes 10 prescription medications, it’s no wonder they’re confused. That's a lot of pills to keep track of and remember!
Moreover, many drugs have similar side effects to the conditions for which they were prescribed, and they can cause dangerous interactions when combined with others in the body. This is a serious problem, because many seniors don't even realize how many pills they are taking and the potential negative consequences of a high drug load.
That’s why for National Check Your Meds Month, I am encouraging all aging adults and seniors to review and update your list of medications, (prescribed or OTC), vitamins, and supplements for a complete Brown Bag Checkup with your doctor or pharmacist in October.
What’s a Brown Bag Checkup, you ask? I know we are probably one of the last generations to understand “brown baggin’ it,” but it is a simple way to explain the concept of putting ALL of your medicines, vitamins, and supplements in a brown bag (or other receptacle), and bringing them to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to carefully review for potential adverse reactions, dose changes, expiration, and actual necessity.
Brown Bag Checkups are an easy way for seniors or their caregivers to check that all of their prescriptions match-up correctly and that none have expired (which happens more than you think). By bringing in ALL your medicines at once, your doctor or pharmacist can check them against each other and ensure that everything is correct before you leave the office or pharmacy.
Again, it is crucial that patients bring in ALL prescribed or OTC medicines, vitamins, and supplements to discuss potential interactions and to address any questions about whether a medication should be continued or adjusted.
Mixing up your medicine with the wrong dose or taking too many pills can be dangerous, or even fatal. To make matters worse, seniors often forget what they've taken and when. This is extremely dangerous because it could lead to negative interactions and potential overdoses.
Brown bag Checkups help seniors to identify any potentially harmful drug interactions or duplicate prescriptions by bringing all their medications to an appointment with their doctor or pharmacist to review.
This simple practice helps avoid serious medical problems such as confusion, falls, dizziness, fainting spells and even hospitalization due to adverse reactions between different medicines taken simultaneously by one person.
A Brown Bag Checkup also helps patients stay on top of their medication schedules, so they don't miss important doses which could lead to health complications down the line, like heart attacks and strokes.
A Brown Bag Checkup is a great way to make sure that all of your medications and supplements are working for you, not against you. A thorough check up by your doctor or pharmacist will help ensure that the medications and supplements you take regularly are safe for use with each other, and beneficial in treating the symptoms for which they were prescribed.
Do you know a senior who could benefit from the assistance of an experienced caregiver? If so, I would welcome the opportunity to sit down with you and/or your senior loved one for a FREE consultation to discuss the services we provide. You are under no obligation to enlist any of our care services for seniors, but it is a great opportunity to learn more about how Home Helpers® can make life easier.
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠. 727.942.2539