Caregivers Guide To The Pharmacy

Family caregivers often face challenges as they try to keep track of the many medications their relative takes each day. The average older American takes from four to five prescription and at least two non-prescription medications every day. It can be a real challenge for families to keep track of medicines and make sure they are taken correctly. Many pharmacies now offer a variety of services to help older adults and their families manage their medicines.


Pharmacists dispense medications prescribed by doctors and other health care providers. They complete at least six years of training and must be licensed by the state where they practice.

Pharmacists are also excellent sources of information about prescription and non-prescription drugs. They advise patients about the correct way to take medicines and suggest over-the-counter treatments for minor ailments. Many pharmacies offer easy-to-read information about medicines – in English and other languages. 


  • What is the name of the medicine? 
  • What is it supposed to do?
  • How should the medicine be stored?
  • How many times a day should it be taken?
  • Should the medicine be taken with or without food?
  • Are there any side effects? What should be done if they occur?
  • Can pills be crushed and mixed with food?
  • What should I do if my relative misses a dose?
  • Is a generic brand available?
  • Should alcoholic drinks be avoided?


It pays to shop around for a pharmacy. Prices for the same drug can vary greatly from pharmacy to pharmacy and so do the services they offer. Ask if the pharmacy offers senior citizens discounts and accepts your relative’s prescription insurance. Supermarket pharmacies are especially convenient — you can shop for groceries while your prescription is being filled!


Many major drugstore chains have websites that offer a variety of useful health information resources and services online. 

These include:

  • Medicare Part D prescription insurance information.
  • Email reminders to refill prescriptions.
  • Online prescription renewals.
  • Health risk assessments.
  • Drug interactions.
  • Care guides for chronic illnesses.
  • Personal immunization records.

Choosing a pharmacy that you trust is essential to your older relative’s health and wellbeing. Shop around until you find one that is convenient, staffed by friendly knowledgeable people, and provides the products, information, and services you need.

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