The Fearless Cregiver


Gary Barg - Editor-in-chiefAll My Ologists


Pulmon, cardi, endocrin, hemat, anesthesi, rheumat, optham…these are only some of the ologists that we encounter once a loved one takes ill. For every single ologist, there are appointments to make, visits to keep, insurance forms to pull your hair out over, multiple phone messages to leave and, more likely than not, medications to administer. In fact, the number of prescriptions written for older adults averages 15 per person per year, and 83 percent of people over 65 are taking prescription medications. As you might expect from statistics like these, the average medication compliance rate is only 50 percent, which accounts for the fact that compliance errors are the fourth leading cause of accidental death in the nation. 

But the truth is that proper medication compliance is not only a challenge for our senior loved ones. A friend of mine stopped by the other day and talked about the latest medications his own bevy of ologists has prescribed. Some should be taken on an empty stomach, some twice a day and some with food. Never mind the possibilities for interactions between the various medications and the wide array of potential side effects. Needless to say, he is ready to give up and he is only in his mid-thirties.

Silent Call - Stay Safe in Your Own HomeThe task of managing medications can be daunting for the more organizationally challenged among us (me included). The first thing that needs to be done is to start making order out of chaos. And no, I don’t think sticky notes count.

Medication Management Tips:

.     Medications can cause serious drug interactions. It is essential to take a complete list of medications to both your doctor and your pharmacist.

       Fill you prescriptions with only one pharmacy. The pharmacist is an extremely important partner in care and is traditionally underutilized by family caregivers.

.        Vitamins, nutraceuticals and even some foods can negatively affect the potency of your medications. Make sure all of your loved one’s doctors know what he or she is taking.

.       Do not alter the medication schedule or amounts taken without consulting with the prescribing physician.

Thinking about all of this, I believe there is another ologist that needs to be an integral member on every one of our loved one’s care teams and that is the caregiverologist. In other words, you.



  Gary Barg
Today's Caregiver magazine
Wednesday June 29, 2011
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