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How to Win Older Americans to Your Independent Pharmacy

How to Win Older Americans to Your Independent Pharmacy by Elements magazine | pbahealth.com


May 7, 2018


Inside: During Older Americans Month, use these easy strategies to assist senior patients. Keep them loyal to your pharmacy by making your pharmacy more senior-friendly.

May is Older Americans Month.

While you can use the month to briefly focus on older patients in your pharmacy, why not focus on them every day?

Use this month to take a deep look at how your pharmacy could better serve seniors all the time.

Older patients are the most significant demographic to your pharmacy. Their population numbers are ballooning. Experts predict their numbers to reach more than 98 million by 2060.

And, they’re likely your most profitable patients. The typical 65-year-old averages $44,000 in lifetime costs for long-term care.

They need more drugs for longer periods of time. Nearly 92 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition. And, 77 percent have at least two.

Overall, older Americans need the most intensive all-around care and accommodation.

So, how well are you caring for older Americans at your pharmacy?

7 Ways to Keep Older Americans Loyal to Your Pharmacy

Use these seven strategies to win older Americans to your pharmacy for good.

1. Make your pharmacy more accommodating for seniors

Almost 40 percent of seniors reported having a disability.

Many rely on devices to help them get around, like canes, wheelchairs, or another person. And many who don’t need assistance still walk with difficulty.

The easier your pharmacy is to access and navigate, the happier (and safer) they’ll be.

Ways to make your pharmacy more accommodating:

 

2. Offer pharmacy services older Americans need

Although older Americans struggle with many of the same medical issues as younger patients, they often deal with far more.

They juggle multiple medications as they manage difficult chronic conditions.

Which makes adherence services—including thorough medication consultations—crucial.

Older Americans are also at higher risk of high blood pressure, arthritis, and falls.   

Your independent pharmacy can offer services that address those issues. So, older patients can take control of their health.

Consider offering these services older Americans need:

 

3. Offer retail products seniors are looking for

Seniors’ specific medical struggles require specific products to manage those struggles.

For example, older patients need equipment to assist them with everyday living. And they need those products even more if they’re transitioning from the hospital to the home setting.

Help your patients by offering durable medical equipment like:

 

Older Americans also maintain the highest percentage of supplement use, according to the 2016 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).

Stock your shelves with supplements seniors need like:

 

4. Provide health education for older Americans

Because of the array of complications older patients have to manage, they can feel overwhelmed and confused.

Give them peace of mind and empower them to control their health by providing education.

Health education can take various forms. Some options include:

 

If your business can manage it, make the education free. Providing health education shows your pharmacy cares for your patients. And, that extra level of care will encourage seniors to loyally use your pharmacy.

5. Market pharmacy services to seniors

Believe it or not, marketing your pharmacy’s products and services is one of the best ways to help your older patients.

Marketing is another word for informing.

Many older Americans don’t realize all the services you provide and are likely missing out on something that could improve their health.

Easy ways to market pharmacy products and services to older patients:

 

6. Prevent errors from using multiple pharmacies

Older Americans tend to use multiple pharmacies to fill different prescriptions. Maybe because of convenience or price shopping. But this practice endangers their health and even their lives.

One study found that nearly 40 percent of patients aged 76 or older use multiple pharmacies and use concurrent medications.

Of those patients, about 57 percent had contraindicated drug combinations.

That’s a problem that only your pharmacy can solve.

Educate, guide, and assist older patients to properly manage their medications. When they see the value you provide, they’ll want to stick with your pharmacy.   

At the least, enroll all of your older patients in the appointment-based model (ABM) of medication synchronization.

Medication synchronization will help them more easily manage their medications.  And, consultations will allow their pharmacist to get a comprehensive view of their needs. Which means you can find ways to further assist them. For example, offer clinical services if needed, like immunizations and health screenings.

7. Make older Americans feel welcome

Would you feel welcome in someone’s home if the person who invited you didn’t greet you or speak to you?

That’s what it’s like when the pharmacist doesn’t personally speak with patients.

Older Americans especially feel the sting of poor communication. They tend to value customer service more than any other generation.

Welcome your older patients by personally greeting them every time they come to your pharmacy.

Ask them questions about themselves and make them feel as if you have all the time in the world for them.

Use Older Americans Month to improve how your pharmacy serves older patients every month.


 

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