Manage Your Medications During COVID-19 and Flu Season

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Home Instead offers tips to help minimize the potential risks of medication mistakes

Medication mismanagement is one of the leading reasons older adults are hospitalized each year. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults age 65 and older visit emergency departments almost 450,000 times each year due to adverse reactions to medications, more than twice as often as younger persons.

Through a more concerted effort to monitor their prescriptions, seniors can not only protect themselves from serious complications, but also prevent non-COVID-19 hospital admissions and reduce the strain on healthcare systems.

“As the pandemic continues to disrupt our daily habits and spark new challenges, it’s critical we pay close attention to the medications we are taking,” said Lakelyn Hogan, gerontologist and caregiver advocate at Home Instead Senior Care. “It can be very easy to become confused about the medications that have been prescribed, when they should be taken and how often. Even though it can be a difficult subject to discuss, we owe it to our future health to create a regimen today that works for our unique situation.”

A personalized plan to keep track of prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements is critical for staying healthy – during the pandemic and beyond. Hogan suggests five practical ways to manage medications during a time of change:

  • Talk with your doctor. With heightened social distancing measures, many older adults are making fewer trips outside the home – even to places like the doctor's office. But, now more than ever, it’s important to maintain open communication with your doctor to help avert medication problems. Whenever you are prescribed something new, be sure to take note of reactions or side effects and address them with your healthcare provider. Remote or telehealth options – virtual “visits” to the doctor via video chat – can allow you to obtain medical advice without leaving home.
  • Go contactless. Similar to grocery stores and restaurants, many local pharmacies are shifting to no- or low-touch services such as drive-through or curbside pickup, or free home delivery. Explore these new options as convenient, safe alternatives to walking into a crowded pharmacy. They can help you avoid unnecessary risks and exposure to COVID-19.
  • Keep a daily routine. Medication cannot do its job unless it’s properly taken. Establish a safe system to manage your medication and help ensure you’re following instructions. To avoid mishaps, keep a list of key details and instructions. Write down the name of the medication, the dosage, the prescribing doctor, the directions and the pharmacy. Consult your healthcare provider before making changes to the medication you’re taking or adding vitamins or supplements to your routine.
  • Stay organized. A variety of prescriptions and dosages can make it difficult to keep everything straight. Organizers, such as pill boxes or printed trackers, can offer a clear picture of the medications and supplements you have been prescribed, prompt you to request refills and encourage you to stick with a routine. Several varieties of pill boxes exist, such as Simple Meds℠, which can automatically sort medications and package each dose into labeled packets that are mailed to you each month.
  • Ask for help. Feeling overwhelmed or stressed? Ask a trusted friend or family member for support. A loved one could help you review instructions and keep track of upcoming appointments. Consider asking them to join as a second set of eyes and ears during telehealth visits, if you’re worried about missing important details.

Medication has the power to save lives – but only if taken correctly. By setting aside time to create a system that works for you, you can enable yourself to stay healthy and independent for as long as possible.

For more resources and tips, visit

Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network provides personalized care, support and education to enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Today, the network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises that provide more than 80 million hours of care annually throughout the United States and 13 other countries. Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ approximately 90,000 CAREGiversSM worldwide who provide basic support services that enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. Home Instead Senior Care franchise owners partner with clients and their family members to help meet varied individual needs. Services span the care continuum – from providing personal care to specialized Alzheimer’s care and hospice support. Also available are family caregiver education and support resources.

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Dan Wieberg
Home Instead Senior Care
+1 (402) 575-5970
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