Senior receives medication at mailbox from a pharmacy delivery service.

Manage Prescription Delivery Services for Senior Loved Ones

Last updated on August 08, 2021

Prescription delivery services can help seniors receive doctor-prescribed medications without making a trip to the pharmacy — particularly if they are unable to drive or have mobility issues.

Pharmacy delivery services may be operated through a local pharmacy or a national pharmacy chain. The pharmacy receives the prescription from the doctor and packs the medication for delivery. Medications are usually sent via U.S. mail, a private shipping company, or a local delivery service.

Although the delivery methods are handy, it’s important to ensure older adults use the services properly to prevent medication mistakes.

Benefits of Prescription Delivery for Seniors

Here are some benefits of using prescription delivery services:

  • Convenience
    Receiving medications without leaving home is convenient for seniors and provides peace of mind for family members. Easy access to prescriptions can encourage seniors to take their medications as directed. Some delivery services provide medications in pre-sorted blister packs, which save seniors—or their caregivers—time and promote correct medication use.
  • Online or app-based management tools
    Some pharmacies have websites or apps that help individuals to manage, monitor, and pay for medications. If a senior has trouble using the app or website, family members can easily step in to help.
  • Automatic medication refills
    For older adults who have difficulty remembering to refill their medication, auto-refill services will ship it in pre-scheduled intervals.
  • Same-day delivery
    Depending on the service you use, same-day delivery may be available. Same-day service is useful if your loved one receives a new medication that needs to be started right away.

Disadvantages of Prescription Delivery Services

Here are a few disadvantages that come with prescription delivery services:

  • Getting more medication than your senior needs
    If your senior’s medications are on auto-refill and one of them is no longer necessary, your senior needs to remember to cancel the auto-refill to avoid paying for and receiving the additional medication. Also, if a physician reduces the dosage or frequency of your loved one’s medication and the auto-refills keep coming, your loved one will have more medication than they need.
  • Increased shipping time
    Although same-day delivery may be available from local pharmacies, mail-order prescriptions often take a few days to arrive. Lengthier delivery times can be problematic if your loved one needs to start medication right away or if their supply is running low.
  • Medication management challenges
    When medications arrive via mail or delivery service, it might be challenging for your senior to figure out what medication has arrived and how to use it. Also, seniors need to store medications so they use the oldest medication first before it expires.

Tips for Managing Home Delivery of Medications for Seniors

If you’re thinking about using prescription delivery for a senior loved one, consider the advice below to manage the service correctly:

  • Get involved
    If you suspect your older loved one needs help managing medications and using a home delivery service, offer your assistance. It may be as simple as helping them set up an auto-refill for their insulin or explaining how to store a credit card for auto-billing.
  • Set up a system
    Help your senior set up a system to store medications after they are delivered. Look for a pharmacy delivery service that pre-sorts medications and provides an easy-to-use blister pack. Make sure your senior unpacks the delivery right away. Also, ensure they understand how to store the medications, how to use them, and who to call if they have questions.
  • Hire a professional
    Proper medication usage and storage are critical to your senior’s health and safety. If you live far from your older loved one or have conflicting obligations, a professional in-home caregiver can help manage a senior's medications. Whether your loved one needs help with medication storage or reminders to take their pills, a senior care professional will be with them every step of the way — and will alert you of any problems or side effects.

Our Visiting Angels’ care coordinators are available to discuss your loved one’s home care needs—including medication management assistance—via a free care consultation.

If you're interested in our compassionate home care services for you or a loved one, contact your nearest Visiting Angels home care agency today or call 800-365-4189.
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