Here are some protocols seniors and their family caregivers should follow when it comes to managing their medications:

• Toss out any expired or discontinued prescription medication. No need to have expired meds floating around the house. Too easily causes confusion.
• Only use medication that has been prescribed for you. Adding a pill from a friend is not helpful.
• Drink a full glass of water and do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking medication. Let your body digest and absorb meds.
• Have prescriptions filled in the same pharmacy. Having a consistent source is a big advantage.
• Check the label of your prescription to verify that it’s the right medication.
• When possible, keep all medications in their original container. Very important for organization.
• Know what to do if you miss a dose. Do you skip it? Or double up later in day?
• Do not share or take any one else’s medication. Drug dosages, and strength, are individualized.
• Tell your health care provider if you are taking any dietary supplements or over-the-counter medications.
• Prepare a list of all medications and give copies to family members and bring them to all health care appointments. Very important. The trick is to keep all those lists updated when there is a prescription change.

– John D. Miller is the owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: ; or online at: