6 Essential Questions for the Pharmacist

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6 Questions to Ask Your Senior Loved One’s Pharmacist

By Glenn Krakow, 8:00 am on

A visit to the pharmacy to pick up a senior loved one’s medications is an excellent opportunity for in-home caregivers to ask questions. Your loved one’s pharmacist can help you not only understand the potential side effects of the medication, but also offer advice or alternative solutions if your loved one has problems like forgetting to take medication or difficulty swallowing capsules.

Next time you head to the pharmacy, Home Care Assistance of El Dorado Hills recommends asking the following questions, and reminds caregivers to let the pharmacist know if your loved one is taking any new medications or supplements.

Why is this medication prescribed?
You should know the name and purpose for all medications your senior loved one is taking, especially since many seniors are prescribed medications from multiple physicians or specialists. This will help you monitor things like efficacy and keep an eye out for potential interactions.

How long will the medicine take to resolve symptoms?
The pharmacist can give you an idea of how long it will be before your loved one begins to see an improvement in symptoms. This general guideline will also help you determine whether the medicine is working as it’s supposed to or if your loved one needs a different prescription.

Can the medication be taken with others, including over-the-counter medicines?It’s always important to understand if your loved one’s medications may cause a potentially dangerous drug interaction. The pharmacist can let you know if your loved one should avoid certain over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, or even supplements that may cause an interaction.

Should the medication be taken with food? Should any foods be avoided?
Some medications can be harsh and cause unpleasant side effects if they are taken on an empty stomach, while others need to be taken on an empty stomach. Some foods, like grapefruits, should also be avoided with certain medications as they prevent the medication from working.

Can the medication be crushed or dissolved or must it be swallowed whole?
Many seniors have trouble swallowing pills and capsules. The pharmacist will let you know if some medications can be dissolved in a drink to make them easier to take.

What are the potential side effects?
The pharmacist can let you know what side effects you should watch for and what to do if your loved one experiences a serious reaction. Understanding the side effects of your loved one’s medication is also important for safety, as some medications cause dizziness or drowsiness that can increase the risk of a fall or injury. 

Proper medication management is an important part of overall senior wellness. At Home Care Assistance of El Dorado Hills, our expertly trained caregivers can provide medication reminders, pick up prescriptions, and help facilitate communication between your loved one’s primary care physician and any specialists to help ensure all relevant information regarding your loved one’s care is documented and accessible. Learn more about our hourly and live-in home care services by calling (916) 358-3801 or (530) 409-4411 and speaking with a dedicated Care Manager.