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Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog - Lancaster, PA

Monday, November 12, 2012

Parental Prescription Plans

This is an important time for seniors as many of them are evaluating their Medicare supplement plans.  If your parents are among them, this would also be a good time to review the prescriptions your parents have.  You might be surprised with what you find on their shelf.  As your parents age, there might be too many bottles for them to keep track of without help, especially with an increasing number of adults suffering from memory loss.  It's not uncommon to find shoe boxes of pill bottles in an elder's home.  Some of these bottles might be empty, others might be the same drug prescribed by different doctors and some could be incompatible with each other.  This problem, called polypharmy, often exists and can be dangerous.
Oftentimes, doctors are in a hurry and seniors are too intimidated to have their medications reviewed at an appointment, but there is another resource to use.  A neighborhood pharmacist, whether it be someone from a chain drug store or from another kind of pharmacy, can take the time to review the list of medications and compare them.  They can offer less popular but equally effective alternatives and can explain exactly what the medication does, the side effects, and the importance of taking what is being ordered.  Another advantage of having a neighborhood pharmacist is that they can prevent the duplication of prescriptions by storing data about all of the patient's prescriptions.
Most parents feel that asking their son or daughter to do this is one responsibility too many, but asking for help can save them from hospitalization later.  Especially if they start to show signs of declining health, keeping track of your parents meds, whether you do it or a pharmacist does, is a lot easier than dealing with a trip to the emergency room.  Watching over their prescriptions can not only ease their worries about medications, but it can literally be a life saver.

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