Medication Administration and Senior Safety

By October 31, 2012Aging in Place

The professionals at LivHOME understand that many conditions, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, require medication on a daily basis in order for seniors to stay healthy as they age. However, taking medication can be a real challenge for many seniors and their caregivers. As seniors continue to age, their bodies begin to alter the way that medications work, making medication safety even more important. Additionally, many seniors face problems with eyesight, memory and the ability to adequately grip a medication bottle. LivHOME at-home healthcare services are a wonderful way to ensure the safety of seniors who face these challenges.


In the United States, seniors account for 34 percent of all prescription medication use and around 30 percent of over-the-counter medication. It is also common for seniors to take multiple medications on a daily basis. For these reasons, seniors are at risk for serious medication administration errors. In fact, almost 40 percent of seniors are unable to read their own medication bottle instructions, while 67 percent of seniors are not able to understand medication information given to them. The following three steps will help seniors and their caregivers to properly administer medications each day and avoid the dangerous side effects of medication errors.


  1. Seniors or caregivers should keep a medication record or list that contains the following:


    • The name of each current medication
    • Why is it taken?
    • How much is taken?
    • How often is the medication taken?
    • Any special instructions or warnings?
    • Problems or side effects noticed?


  1. Read the directions given by the pharmacist. While it may seem like a good idea to simply throw away those papers from the pharmacist, seniors and their caregivers should always take the time to read through the inserts that come with medication. When seniors pick up their medication, they should compare the instructions on the bottle to the information on the insert to verify everything matches. Mistakes can happen at the pharmacy, so spending a few extra minutes of time can help seniors to catch a serious error before something bad happens.


  1. Check for possible drug interactions. For seniors, drug interactions are a major concern. People in this age group can often take multiple medications every day, some of which may not be prescribed by the same doctor. For this reason, it is vital for seniors to keep their physician informed of each medication they currently taking. They should also discuss possible drug interactions along with common side effects. When in doubt, seniors can always contact their pharmacist to discuss medication concerns.


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