Most medications are listed with
www.needymeds.com. You can look up the name with
either the name brand or generic name. In
addition, it is possible to print the forms
online and take them to your doctor’s office for
helping filling them out. You may also need the
doctor’s signature to verify the prescription.
These programs generally ask for financial
information to be sure you meet income criteria
and a physician’s signature. Some companies will
ship medications directly to you while others
require that medicines be sent to your doctor’s
Check, Check, and Recheck:
Before taking a medication, double-check the
label to be sure that you are taking it
according to your doctor’s instructions. Never
rely on your memory, especially since seniors
tend to take so many different medications. You
may have several medications with similar names
and a medication mistake can be costly.
Also, make sure you’re giving the correct
dosage. If there are instructions for “weaning”
off a medication, be sure to follow these
exactly. Medications like oral steroids
may have serious side effects if not taken
correctly when you are trying to stop a
medication that may have been taken long-term.
Are you taking the medication correctly? Is it
an oral medicine or is it an injectable
medicine? An oral medicine that is accidentally
injected could have painful, if not lethal
Finally, make sure you’re giving the medicine at
the right time. There is generally a two hour
window of time that a medicine can be given.
This window starts one hour before the medicine
is prescribed and ends one hour after its time.
For example, if a medicine is prescribed at 2
p.m., you can usually start giving it at 1 p.m.
up until 3 p.m. During this window, you can
usually take the prescribed dosage without
harmful side effects. To be sure that the window
of time applies to your situation, check with
your doctor or pharmacist.
Seniors may have problems with feeling in the
tips of their fingers and may have difficulty
feeling the pills in their hands. Watch for
medicines on the floor around the area where
they generally take their medicines. If there
are several pills on the floor or on the
cabinet, it could be a sign that they are
dropping one of their pills and not getting the
medication they need. Caregivers can develop a
system where they watch them take medicines or
even administer the medications themselves.
Taken properly, all medications have their
purpose. Determining the best way for your loved
one to take medicines may take some work and
documentation on your part in order to develop
the right management system for your household
and comfort level. Be sure to check with your
loved one’s physician and pharmacist if you
suspect a problem or need additional information