Dangerous drug interactions …

I’ve spoken before about the dangers of drug interactions, there are medications that do not work well together – an these can send you to the hospital (or worse).

I am not a doctor nor a pharmacist, so I will not try to tell you which meds interact badly with others.  I will tell you this one important thing:

Whenever speaking to your doctor and pharmacist about a new medication

ALWAYS tell them about everything you’re taking.  

Prescriptions by other doctors – TELL THEM

Over the counter supplements or pain meds – TELL THEM

Herbal supplements or teas – TELL THEM

Other medical conditions – TELL THEM

While in your doctor’s office speaking of a new medicine talk to him/her about all I’ve stated above AND when picking up a new prescription from the pharmacy speak with the pharmacist telling them about all I stated above.

It may seem redundant to have the same conversation with both your doctor and pharmacist but it isn’t.  Your doctor has an 8-year degree in the practice of medicine, which includes knowledge of drugs and drug reactions.  Your pharmacist also has an 8-year degree – but his specified in the study of chemistry, drugs and drug reactions.

Follow this link to a news story on the increase of hospitalizations due to drug interactions.

ER visits due to drug interactions on the rise

PS: The featured image is of my favorite pharmacist … my grandpa, who graduated as a pharmacist in 1941!

Emergency Preparedness!

I had a reminder this week about the real need to make sure that as a caregiver you have disaster plans in place.  The additional burden of having someone dependent upon you for their basic needs means that you need to have plans in place for the worst case scenario.

Try approaching these questions with the idea of maintaining physical safety and being able to perform basic activities of daily living:

  • What would happen if you, as the primary caregiver, needed to be hospitalized suddenly with an extended hospital stay?
  • Plans for natural disasters where you shelter in place but are unable to leave home for days on end.
  • Extended power outages – food, water, heat?
  • Natural disasters where you need to evacuate your home, what to take?  List of all essentials including food, clothing, medications and durable medical assistance devices (eg: walker, wheelchair or breathing assistance devices)

Take time to make a disaster preparedness checklist for any potential issues today.  It will make a stressful time a bit less so by helping you get everything you need in place while chaos is raining down around you.

The Red Cross website has some great emergency preparedness lists on their website, they have a list for almost every contingency you can think of.  The link is here: Red Cross Disaster Planning Lists

Fire danger season –

At this time of many fires spreading across much of the US, I thought I would send out an extra message to those of you who care for seniors.  Even if you aren’t in direct line of one of the fires the smoke can travel for miles causing air quality to drop.

When wildfire smoke becomes thick in the atmosphere there are several groups of people who are affected by the contaminated air.  One of these groups of people are seniors.

As we age our lung capacity diminishes and for many seniors the wildfire smog puts them is serious danger for respiratory problems, including pneumonia.

As best as possible keep your senior indoors when smoke is heavily in the air.

If you find that your home isn’t sealed well against drafts try some simple and cheap ways to temporarily seal up the areas allowing smokey air into your home.

The usual areas for air leaking from outside to inside are around doors and windows.

A damp bath towel along the base of any door leading outside will help stop and filter airflow.  A damp sheet tacked around a window sill will filter airflow around the window casing.

If there is no avoiding a trip outdoors for your senior, encourage them to wear a mask while out of doors.  The best style of mask for this is referred to as a N95 – other types of masks will not filter out the fine particulates found in forest fire smoke.

If your senior starts showing any signs of respiratory distress, do not hesitate to contact their doctor and get them into seek medical help.

Caregiver de-stress 101

Caregivers, we all know the feeling; you’re overwhelmed with the stress of everyday life.  Providing care for your loved one is a 24/7 job that calls for mental acuity, physical endurance and lots of patience.

Then you get that phone call or email from a family member or friend who feels  “all you do is stay at home all day without much to do ” that you have plenty of time to help them with a project or committee or some other task.  They don’t understand the life of a caregiver, some may be able to understand when it is explained to them, but many will never know until it is thrust into their laps.

This begins the hardest part of being a caregiver: saying “No” to those requests.  Here’s a list of ways to politely say no without feeling like a terrible person:

waystosay no

Remember, saying no doesn’t make you a bad person.  In order to be a good caregiver you need to stay on top of your own physical and emotional health.