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By Carol Marak - Aging Matters

If you’re taking many different medicines as well as over-the-counter supplements and vitamins, you might be at risk of missing one, taking too many or mixing inappropriately. It is confusing. The National Health Institute has created a form to help. Because your prescription regimen can change, download several blank forms to have a clean copy to use. Bring a completed and updated copy to every doctor appointment,

Studies show that older adults take two or more prescription drugs a day. But for better health, you must take each one as prescribed by the doctor. All medications, even over-the-counter drugs, have risks if not taken correctly. Please read the labels on all prescriptions and supplements carefully. More tips:

—Pay close attention to the directions when taking medications. It’s important to consume foods and beverages as directed.

—Don’t skip – follow the doctor’s orders and take the medications as often as the directions say. It’s best if you take the pills at the same time each day.

—Be aware of drug interactions, side effects and reactions. If you’re taking many pills ask your doctor or pharmacist about potential interactions. Also, make sure the physician knows about all your prescriptions. Know which meds are taken with food or on an empty stomach.

—Side effects can be harmful – Antidepressants, antihistamines, and sedatives can cause drowsiness. Do not drive after taking them. Ask your physician about restricted activities while taking medications.

—Loss of appetite – some drugs may take away the appetite, so find ways to consume necessary nutrients and calories. Understand which foods can and cannot be eaten with the medication.

Clever ways other people use to track their medications

“Design a system using different colored magnets for each drug. Each day, the magnets start out on the left side of the fridge and move over to the right side after consuming one.”

“To make sure I remember when I took what, I flip the medication bottles over.”

“I use the Pill Reminder app. It helps remind me when to take my meds and what to take. It also keeps track of how many pills I have left in my bottle and sends me an alert when it’s close to empty.”

“I use Post-it notes throughout my house, by the bed, on the bathroom mirror, and on the fridge. This system makes it impossible to forget.“

Whatever system you use make sure it’s easy to follow. If you still have problems organizing your medications, ask you doctor or pharmacist for suggestions.

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By Carol Marak

Aging Matters

Carol Marak, aging advocate, She’s earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.

Carol Marak, aging advocate, She’s earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.