Q: How do I get a supply of my parent's medications to stock in their emergency preparedness kit? The pharmacy refuses to fill them.

A: Individuals who pay cash can explain to the dispensing pharmacy that they are preparing for an emergency. Those with prescription drug plans usually have a more difficult time.

I would suggest contacting their prescription drug plan customer service department through the toll free number on the prescription drug card. Ask if they have a provision for emergencies.

They may offer vacation refills but this process doesn't work because this process doesn't allow the insured to set aside the medicine, it only allows the insured to obtain prescriptions early.

You could also refill each prescription 3 or 4 days early over each of the next few months. After which, you would be able to set aside a 7 to 10 day supply for an emergency. Usually there are fewer problems with maintenance meds. Controlled substances, medications that may be abused, may be more difficult to handle this way.

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To avoid the day to day emergencies, avoid last minute refill requests and always take note of the refill status of each prescription. None of us should ever run out of our medications.

Medication management is an important component of elder care. Its good to think ahead about emergency situations.