LTC Senior-Friendly Pharmacy Services

General Description, Overview, and Opportunity

With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day and many of these new "retirees" taking care of parents well into their 80s, it is incumbent upon community pharmacists to design and layout their pharmacy so that the experience is a pleasant one providing valuable resources to seniors and the caregivers whose job it is to keep our loved ones well and in our communities.

Making Your Pharmacy Accessible

Make sure you consider the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when setting up your business. ADA disabilities include both mental and physical medical conditions. A condition does not need to be severe or permanent to be a disability. While ADA does is not specifically directed at seniors, it makes good business sense to make sure the location is handicap accessible. Here are some things to consider in your pharmacy:


  • Easy open or automatic doors.

  • The store should be well lit.

  • Floor needs to be smooth, no tile.

  • Aisles should be at least 5ft wide and free from clutter or displays that would impede the traffic flow.

  • Add magnifying glasses on a chain every 8 to 12ft of shelving.

Waiting area:

  • Waiting area should have at least two chairs with arms.

  • If music is playing, it should be appropriate for expected age group.

Pharmacy counter:

  • Prescription counter should be within 25 steps from door.

  • Registers can or should have a pull-out top for those in a wheelchair.

  • Limit background music speakers near registers, pickup, and drop off areas.

  • Offer drive up, delivery, or curbside pickup.

  • Utilize unit dose compliance packaging and large font labels.

Caring for the Caregivers

Pharmacists should be very supportive of caregivers that sacrifice their time and health for loved ones. Caregiver stress is a condition of exhaustion, anger, rage, or guilt that results from unrelieved caring for a chronically ill dependent. Typical symptoms of the caregiver include fatigue, insomnia, stomach complaints, with the most common symptom being depression. Underserved caregivers cite need for education among chief concerns.

Pharmacists can educate caregivers and help them to:

  1. Manage their emotions

  2. Find time for themselves

  3. Balance work, caregiving, and physical health

  4. Understand products and choices for managing incontinence

  5. Properly lift patients to prevent injury

  6. Talk with physicians and encourage them to ask questions

  7. Assist the family in choosing a nursing home or community care center

  8. Provide end of life options for the family

  9. Find government financial aid and money management options

  10. Manage patient medications and prevent missed doses

Caregivers spend much of their day assisting the elderly in achieving their activities of daily living (ADLs). Activities of daily living are basic self-care tasks, akin to the kinds of skills that people usually learn in early childhood. This may include activities like feeding, toileting, dressing, grooming, maintaining continence, bathing, walking, transferring, etc.

Many older people experience problems in daily living because of chronic illnesses or health-related disabilities. Those difficulties restrict their ability to perform self-care The pharmacy should be well stocked with supplies to help the elderly successfully engage in ADLs.