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The neighborhood pharmacy (ie. CVS or Walgreens) can provide help for seniors, selling products that cover everything from mobility, to bathing and grooming, to medication management.
Here’s a look at specific products that can help, as well as tips on avoiding certain problems:
- Medication Management. Pill reminders and organizers can keep medications organized and remind seniors to take them. Pill crushers can improve compliance by making large pills easier to swallow.
- Mobility Support. For those whose mobility may be limited due to illness, surgery or injury, consider these novel products:
- The “Reacher Grabber Tool” is great for reaching things on the floor or on high shelves. It has a unique trigger lock that eliminates the need for a constant grip, which is helpful for people with arthritis. It’s also got a special dressing hook at the tip to help retrieve shoes and socks, and put them on.
- The Travel Seat + Cane is a handy, lightweight item that provides people with a stable seat whenever and wherever they need it. It also functions as a walking cane with a comfortable grip handle.
- The Jar Opener E-Z Claw is helpful for those with arthritis or weakness in their arms and hands. It’s great for opening jars, bottles, doorknobs and containers.
- Vitamins and Supplements. Most pharmacies have entire aisles dedicated to this, which can appear overwhelming. To avoid confusion, focus on the following:
- Fiber supplements, which are helpful for dealing with chronic constipation, a common ailment for seniors. This can result from lack of dietary fiber, inactivity, inadequate hydration, or as a side effect of medication.
- Food thickeners and ready-to-eat meals, which can be helpful for someone struggling to swallow as the result of stroke, surgery or other illness. They can be used for meal replacement or to complement meals.
- Multivitamins, which can be recommended by the pharmacist to meet one’s specific needs. Easy-to-swallow capsules, powders and liquids are usually available.
- Pain Relievers. The two primary types are acetaminophen and NSAIDS, both of which need to be used cautiously. Aspirin, for example, can interact with blood thinning medications, and increase the risk of bleeding. Safer options for reducing pain and inflammation include alternating hot and cold packs, topical rubs that contain capsaicin (hot pepper extract), and supplements with curcumin or fish oil.
- Cold and Allergy Relief. Many cold and allergy medications can interact with prescription drugs and so are not recommended for those with heart disease, glaucoma or prostate disease. Decongestants can raise blood pressure and cause insomnia. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, impair coordination and increase the risk of a fall.
Get safer congestion relief by using a nasal wash/rinse or running a cool mist vaporizer to add moisture to the air.
Never hesitate to ask the pharmacist for his or her professional opinion. He or she can provide an excellent resource in learning more about products and finding the safest and often most affordable solutions.