Pharmacist speaks to seniors’ gathering

Seniors from Unity, Denzil, Dinsmore, Dodsland, Harris, Kerrobert, Luseland, Macklin and Wilkie gathered at the New Horizons Hall in Unity SK, May 22 for a SSAI regional rally. The mission statement of the Saskatchewan Seniors Association Incorporated is “Working for seniors to bring seniors together in one strong, non-partisan, non-racial, non-sectarian organization that will work for the welfare of all seniors in Saskatchewan.”

Shannon Ireland

With the New Horizons Hall in Unity, Saskatchewan brightly decorated, pharmacist Shannon Ireland speaks to attendees at the Region D spring rally of the SSAI.

The Region D rally featured local pharmacist Shannon Ireland of Unity, Saskatchewan, as a guest speaker, to pass on information about drugs, prescriptions, the seniors’ drug plan and related topics.

Ireland spoke about different options for prescription coverage, including the Saskatchewan seniors’ drug plan, Saskatchewan Blue Cross, Greenshield and Group Medical Services. She said it is important for each individual to look at the available choices, from the perspective of his or her own individual circumstances. The plan that is best for one senior may not be the best option for another.

She also said any Saskatchewan resident, a senior or not, can make an application to have the drug plan deductible reduced. The applications are assessed on a combination of income and the cost of the prescriptions needed. “Everybody should be able to afford their medication they need to live, and also (be able) to pay their rent and buy their food.”

Ireland said pharmacists can help with the forms that need to be filled out. Another option is to ask your accountant or family members to help.

In response to questions from the audience, Ireland spoke about the size of some pills, saying multivitamins and calcium are the biggest offenders in terms of being large. Nevertheless, if the instructions are “Do not crush,” there is a reason for that direction. Often a “Do not crush” pill has a special coating that is also the delivery mechanism for the active ingredients. Some are sustained release products, specially created so that the dose is not absorbed into the body all at once. Many blood pressure pills are sustained release medications.

Audience questions covered a lot of ground, including what to do if you have forgotten to take your pills. Bubble packs can help as you can see if you took your medication that morning or not. For certain prescriptions or if you are taking, for example, five pills daily and three are already on the drug plan, then the seniors’ drug plan will pay the cost of the bubble pack.

Ireland also advised that, if you remember about your medication shortly after you were supposed to take it, say within a few hours, then take it when you remember but if it is evening already and you were supposed to take it in the morning, then wait and just take the next dose at the usual time. She added, “If you’re forgetting more than you’re remembering, change to a time you’re more likely to remember to take it.”

Ireland reminded everyone to talk to their pharmacists about their medications. “Part of our job is to tell you if drugs are going to interact.” Check with your pharmacist about interactions with over the counter drugs and herbal remedies as well.

After Ireland’s presentation, the attendees, 65 in all, enjoyed lunch and socializing.

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