Seniors are currently the fastest growing population in the world. In order to help seniors live a healthy life into their later years, the following are tips on medication and pharamacy usage from Boston based CVS pharmacist Minh Do:
KV: What are the most common mistakes patients make regarding medication?
MD: Regardless of age, patients often stop taking their medication before the directions indicate because they start to “feel better.” Not completing the medication regimen according to prescription directions or doctor’s orders can lead to negative consequences, such as a relapse in sickness. We also see a lot of prescriptions being left behind at the pharmacy, either because people forget or just choose not to pick it up. Another common mistake we see is the improper storage of medications. Unless otherwise advised by your pharmacist or doctor, medications should generally be stored in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight, so it is not recommended to keep medications in a bathroom or on a windowsill.
KV: What should patients consider when pairing alternative medicine/supplements with traditional medications?
MD: Patients should always check ahead of time with their pharmacist before combining non-prescription drugs or supplements with prescription medication. Their local pharmacist will be able advise them on appropriate alternative medication for their health condition, while also preventing potential harmful interactions between these products or with any prescriptions they may be taking.
KV: What is the importance of having a good relationship with your pharmacist?
MD: As Baby Boomers age, their health conditions and challenges will shift. Luckily, Boomers can turn to their local pharmacy for a helpful resource. By developing and maintaining a healthy relationship with their pharmacist and having a single “pharmacy home” for all their prescriptions, Baby Boomers are twice as likely to take their medications as prescribed and are more likely to stay on their medications, which can reduce their healthcare costs by thousands of dollars annually. A close relationship with your pharmacist means knowing how to properly take your medications and treat various health conditions, whether it’s arthritis, high cholesterol, diabetes or just a bad cold.
KV: What are your suggestions for Baby Boomers to live the longest, healthiest life?
MD: Certainly an active lifestyle with attention to diet and exercise is critical. Another key for Baby Boomers is to commit to one local “pharmacy home” for all of their prescriptions. As Boomers enter the 65+ age range, they’ll likely take three times as many prescriptions as those who are under the age of 65. By keeping with one “pharmacy home”, pharmacists can better track the multiple prescriptions for Baby Boomers, avoid negative drug interactions and take advantage of a wealth of knowledge from a pharmacist who is familiar with your overall prescription history.