Managing Medications for Seniors: Reasons to Be Rx-ponsible

managing medications for seniors

Managing your older adult’s prescriptions and other medications can feel like a full-time job – there’s so much to keep track of. But that’s exactly why you can’t assume others will take all the necessary steps to make sure your older adult always has the right dose of the prescribed medication at the correct time. Caregiver and author Suzanne Blankenship shares tips on how to make sure your older adult’s medications are being properly managed, no matter where they live or who’s providing day-to-day care.


Who is responsible for the Rx purchases for your parents? If the answer is anyone but YOU, you may want to read further.

You may think that your parents or their residence facilities are diligently watching how often the prescription drugs are being ordered, how coordinated the orders are, and how much is being charged for their medications. Well…you can dream, can’t you?

In truth, I hope the folks ordering the meds are being responsible. I’m sure they are trying.



But, what often happens is this:

  • Orders are not placed until the medications are almost out or have only a few days left.
  • If your parents or their residence facility call you when they are running low and you place the order, they are often almost out of other meds (including OTC meds like aspirin or iron), but didn’t remember to tell you.
  • The meds need a prescription renewal, which requires time to contact the doctor. You don’t find this out until you place the Rx order.
  • They forget to order until several days after they run out of the medication.
  • If the residence facility orders the meds, a new employee or different employee can get the med orders confused. They might order an old Rx with the wrong dosage or an Rx that your parent no longer takes.

And on and on…

So, it is a good idea to insert yourself (or your sibling) somewhere in this process – if for nothing other than a sanity check.


Here are 4 ways you can make a difference in your older adult’s Rx world:

  1. Keep a list of the medications that your older adult takes. Know how often they are ordered (every 30 days or every 90 days). Know where they get their Rx medications. Know which meds get refilled at the same time.
  2. Call the pharmacy (or pharmacies) and ask them to make any old or unused Rx inactive in their system. This is often called archiving a Rx. You’ll need your power of attorney to do this!
  3. If your parent or their residence facility orders their meds online, make sure you have access to the online account and check the order history regularly. If you think it is best, tell the residence facility that you are the only one allowed to order meds. They must call you when an Rx needs refilling.
  4. One more thing. If your older adult uses a retail pharmacy, make friends with the pharmacists and ask them to put a requirement in their Rx record. The requirement – the pharmacy must call you to get approval before they fill the Rx order. This closes the gap on erroneous ordering and has saved my backside over and over again.


Being Rx-ponsible saves time, money and marbles – sometimes, even your older adult’s health.


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Guest contributor: Suzanne Blankenship guides you through the journey of eldercare with practical tips, proven tools and a spoonful of laughter – all in a book you can read in one night.  In her second decade of eldercare, Suzanne brings her experience to audiences across the country as a speaker, eldercare expert and author of How To Take Care of Old People Without Losing Your Marbles. Follow Suzanne’s blog at, on Facebook, or on Twitter.




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