Thursday , 21 October 2021

Pilot program wants seniors to be wise about their medications

Image credit: pexels.com

A pilot project with help from the University of Alberta is hitting the Lakeland next week meant to give seniors better tools for understanding their medications.

Cold Lake resident Linda Kolewaski is bringing the Med Wise program to Cold Lake, Bonnyville, La Corey, and Glendon so seniors can take ownership of their health and improve their ability to manage their medications.

Kolewaski has worked with IMAGINE, a citizens based health care group, for a few years.

The two-week, two-hour session swill help those aged 55-and-over build skills to speak to their pharmacists about their medication and health issues and having an active role in understanding how their medications affect their lives.

Linda Kolewaski, IMAGINE facilitator is hoping to hear from medication users about their stories and experiences.


“What the course is all about is giving you the tools, giving you the background of what you should know about your medications, what you should know about taking care of your health and how to hopefully give you the skills to speak effectively, and get the answers that you should be getting,” said Kolewaski.

Nine out of ten seniors take more than one medication, and four out of ten seniors use over the counter drugs that can have adverse effects with their prescribed medications.

Nearly two million Canadian seniors regularly take at least one risky medication, a Canadian Institute for Health Information figure reported in 2018, and a 2016 study said that $1.4 billion of taxpayer dollars is spent every year fixing health problems in older adults caused by risky medications.

With changing medications and unknown effects over the counter drugs could have on your body, Kolewaski advocates scheduling a care plan or medication review with your pharmacist to get a better picture of what’s happening or changing with your body.

“If they have a new prescription, it’s really important that they realize that they have to get a sheet and they have to speak to the pharmacist, or at least the pharmaceutical technician to find out what the contraindications are, what could be the possible side effects, what could I be looking at? What should I be looking at? Should I be concerned about this?” said Kolewaski.

“Even if it’s just a different dosage of this one type of medication, you can ask the pharmacist to do a medication review for you or a medical plan or care plan for you specifically.”

The Med Wise course, originally developed in Wisconsin and adapted to Alberta, could go nationwide if this pilot project receives enough feedback.

“I want to know their stories about where they had a problem. Hopefully, by sharing my stories with them about my medications, it will allow them to be a little bit more open and say, this is my concern. This is my problem. And this is where we want that information.

“The course isn’t there to say that you should cut out anything or add anything or do anything. It’s just showing you to start those conversations with the medical professionals, start the conversation with your doctor, start the conversation with your pharmacist.”

The Med Wise program will be at the Cold Lake and District FCSS on Sept. 18 and 25th for sessions at 10am-12pm 2pm-4pm.

Bonnyville residents can go to the Bonnyville Seniors Drop in Centre for the program on Sept. 23 and 30th at 10am-12pm, or Bonnylodge on Sept. 23 and 30th at 1pm-3pm.

The program is available in Glendon at the Glendon Seniors Hall on Sept. 24 and Oct 1. at 10am-12pm and the Willow Prairie Hall in La Corey on Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 from 1pm-3pm.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.