by Kim Keller
One of the most critical lessons Karen and I learned was this: Pay close attention to medications.
We have seen both of our parents suffer from endless medication issues — too much, too little, the wrong ones, etc. Medications have often been responsible for making our parents sick, rather than making them well.
Here are the three things you need to do: (1) Keep an updated list of medications, including over-the-counter remedies, herbs and vitamins; (2) If you see any change in your loved one’s behavior or comfort level, ask the doctor if it could be related to a recent medication change; and (3) Always make sure to ask the doctor these following important questions:
- Can you please give me the spelling of the medication, as well as the dosage instructions?
- Why was this medication prescribed?
- How will this new medication interact with the other medications my loved one is currently taking?
- Is it safe to take this with over-the-counter meds, vitamins, herbs and supplements?
- What side effects might occur? How likely are these side effects?
- Can any of my loved one’s symptoms be a side effect of a current medication?
- Should this medication be taken with food?
- What should we do if my loved one forgets to take a pill?
- How long will it take before this medication becomes effective?
- Is there anything else we should know about this medication?
Kim Keller is the Co-Founder of In Care of Dad. She lives and works in New York City.