Helping Seniors Understand Their Medications

Author: Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor

As part of Older Americans Month, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) has provided a list of topics that senior citizens and their families should regularly discuss with pharmacists to gain better knowledge of the medications they are taking. As the most accessible health care provider, pharmacists are equipped to discuss many of the issues that medications may present for older patients.

Pharmacists can play a pivotal role in helping these patients sort out any confusion they may have about the medications they are taking, answering questions, and assisting in better decision making. This relationship, according to APhA, can provide seniors with more control over their medications and can result in fewer side effects and interactions, which in turn can lead to improvements in quality of life.

Some of the topics seniors and their caretakers and family members should discuss with pharmacists to help improve their understanding of medications are as follows: APhA encourages all patients, especially older patients, to maintain regular visits with all of their health care providers, fill all their prescriptions with one pharmacy whenever possible, get to know their pharmacist on a first name basis, carry an up-date medication and vaccination list, and share all medical information with each of their care providers.