Home care is great! The senior citizen stays at their own home and has a caregiver visit them so many hours per day or week. They remain in a familiar environment, have all their own creature comforts and their privacy. however, most seniors today are on at least one type of medication and, no matter how often a caregiver visits, there will be times when they need to be responsible for the taking of their own medication.
A good home care agency, working together with the senior client, the caregiver and possibly friends and relatives should make the task of self medicating as easy as possible. Taking their own medication needs to be a simple procedure or missed dosages will occur …. or even a complete stoppage! This, as you can imagine, will be extremely unhealthy, possibly dangerous, for the senior involved.
Here are some things the home care agency and caregiver need to be aware of when formulating a plan for self medication:
- Is the senior aware of the dosages?
- Are there complicated instructions to taking the medication and is the client aware of them?
- Would a pill organizer help the senior? If so, the home care agency and caregiver can involve one in their planning.
- Is the senior able to open and close the containers by themselves?
- Are there any dangerous side effects linked to the taking of the medication? If so, then this rules out the self medicating issue due to the need for monitoring by a third party.
- Can the elderly client swallow the medication in pill or capsule form? If not then a liquid form might have to be obtained.
- The senior client, family members, friends and the caregiver should all know what to do in the event of a missed dose or a double dose (overdose).
- Is the senior citizen able to know if they have actually taken too much medication and what actions are then necessary, for example the calling of the emergency services. If there are any doubts as to the mental integrity of the elder then self medication should be avoided.