Polypharmacy, bladder control medication

Created date

June 27th, 2019
Dr. Norman is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. She joined Highland Springs in June 2007.

Dr. Norman is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. She joined Highland Springs in June 2007.

Q: My father is taking eight medications, some of them at different times of the day. How can I help him remember the proper schedule?

A: Keeping track of multiple medications can be a significant problem, especially if schedules vary. Fortunately, there are low-tech and high-tech ways to help. Low-tech options include having a family member or friend set up the medications in labeled pill boxes. Doing this weekly or monthly can help a lot. If, however, someone has cognitive problems, someone might need to come in every day. You can hire an aide from an agency to fill in if you, another family member, or friend can’t help. Another low-tech option is using a service that will package up medications in individual labeled packets. Some insurances will cover this helpful service. 

High-tech options include pill dispensers with alarms, apps on devices that can send reminders, or even alarms designed for wristwatches. You may want to take your father to his doctor for a cognitive evaluation. It could help you assess his abilities and choose the best way to manage his medication schedule. His doctor may be able to also simplify his medication regimen and reduce the number of times per day medications need to be taken.

 

Q: I am a woman with bladder control problems and take medication for it, but the side effects are very unpleasant. I’d like to find other ways to help this problem.

A: Problems with bladder control, also called urinary incontinence, are common among seniors. It depends on the form of incontinence you have and the cause to determine the best treatment. Medications called anticholinergics are often prescribed for this problem, but as you know, side effects can include dry mouth and constipation. Some women have been able to stop taking these medications by practicing certain lifestyle modifications. Examples are balancing your fluid intake, limiting caffeine and alcohol, taking regular bathroom breaks, and maintaining a healthy weight. Regular exercise is also important, including strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. These exercises—called Kegel exercises—have been found to be especially beneficial. There are some over-the-counter devices now on the market that may also help strengthen pelvic muscles. Your doctor knows more about your health and may be able to suggest strategies that could help the most. 


Health and wellness experts practice exclusively at Erickson Living communities all over the U.S. Dr. Norman received her bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex., and her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco. She also completed her internship and residency in internal medicine and fellowship in geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Norman is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. She joined Highland Springs in June 2007.

Comments