People with dementia are likely to have difficulty remembering what medications to take when to take them, and whether they have already taken their doses for the day. This makes the role of a caregiver even more important.
A loved one may take medicines to treat the disease itself, mood or behavior changes, and other medical conditions. To help caregivers of seniors get a better handle and understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, the following may be valuable information about managing medications for someone with Alzheimer’s disease:
- Create a medication list
- It’s best to fully account for every medication being taken by the person with dementia. Create a list that includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and any herbal or nutritional supplements. A medication list serves three purposes:
- It allows a patient or caregiver to see all the medications the person is taking at-a-glance.
- It provides a place to note any medication issues or side effects so that you can talk about it with their provider.
- It shows a doctor or pharmacist the full range of medications, so they spot potential drug interactions.
- Daily usage reminders
- There are many ways to create medication reminders. Some potential options are:
- Pill reminder app: If you use your smartphone frequently, you can download one of the many pill reminder apps that are available. They will guide you through the alarm-setting process.
- Add it to your calendar or planner: Add your medication information to calendars or planners if you use them.
- Set an alarm: Set alarms for the appropriate times on your phone, tablet, or computer.
- Safe storage and organization
- People with dementia can often forget to take their pills. They can also forget that they have already taken their medication, which could lead them to take a double dose. Proper organization and storage of medication can help prevent these incidents. The safest storage place is usually a locked box or cabinet that can only be accessed by family members or the caretaker. You may need a second lockbox for medications that have to be refrigerated.