Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pharmacists Play Major Role In Caring For Parents

Taking Care Of Parents!

Pharmacists are my heroes. When I was caring
for Mom, they had my highest respect. There
was even one time, our pharmacist noticed
an error made by her doctor and got right on
the phone and straightened it up. This over-
sight could have been life-threatening.
I love you, Dan!

As a caregiver, you know your aging parents may
be on many medications. Talk with your pharmacist.
They know how medications work better than
your doctor. And they are willing and able to
take the time and answer all your questions.

You have to keep watch for any interaction
between medicines. Especially if a new prescription
is introduced.

Then comes dispensing the medications.

Many elderly patients are on a wide variety of
prescription medications that have to be taken at
multiple times every day. Negative side effects can
occur if a dose is missed or late.

Special pill dispensers that help the caregiver to
remember what times of day a pill should be taken
and how many pills of each type are needed is a big
help. Ask your pharmacist about different specialized
pill dispensers in order to alleviate this problem.

Something that is of particular interest to talk about
with your pharmacist is about the reasons for taking
each medication and what can be expected in terms
of primary and secondary effects.

Doctors sometimes are in such a hurry that they
prescribe something that needs to be given but do not
spend enough time explaining to the patient and to
the caregiver what this medication is for and what
kind of effects it can have. Pharmacists are usually
a really helpful source of this type of information.

Visit your pharmacy at times of the day when it is less
busy, such as early in the morning so that you are sure
to have an uninterrupted conversation with the pharmacist.

Make a list of your questions before you go so that you
are sure to get answers for all of your questions.
Not only should you ask about what the drug is for but
also about how good of a chance there is that the drug
will help in the symptoms that the drug is prescribed for.

Many medications can have a negative effect, either in
combination with the positive effect they are designed
to have or instead of the effect they are supposed to have.

It can also be the case that they work differently in
combination with the other medications a person is taking
than they would work when a patient is not taking any
other medications.

Knowing the dangerous side effects to look for will help
you take good care of your loved one. Regardless of the
side effects that the pharmacist tells you about for a
particular drug, any sudden and severe change in health
or behavior should be discussed with the pharmacist
and the doctor.

Symptoms to look out for are depression, sleep disorders,
Parkinson’s-like symptoms and confusion. Any of these
should be discussed right away in order to reassess
pharmacological needs.

An important tip: Write down on a sturdy index card
ALL the medications your loved one is taking. Keep it
in your possession at all times. Have a copy with your
loved one and any other people who are around your

That is always the FIRST question asked by medical
personnel in times of emergencies. There was a time
I called the ambulance for Mom. In ER, I was asked
for a list of her prescriptions. In my shock, I drew an
absolute blank. I did not make that mistake again!
Go and do that right now. You'll be glad you did!

Caring for parents when they become elderly is not
easy. Take all the help and information you can get...

Taking Care Of Parents!