6 Tips to Help Your Loved One Keep Track of Medication
Proper and safe medication adherence is a nationwide problem for people of all ages, especially the elderly. One study suggests approximately 1 in 5 new prescriptions are never filled, and of those, approximately 50 percent are taken incorrectly.
Managing multiple medications for seniors with different dosing schedules can be even more challenging, especially if they are living with cognitive or memory issues.
While medications can improve quality of life, extend life expectancy, and cure or mitigate disease, they can lead to severe consequences if forgotten or taken in the wrong dosage.
Know Your Loved One’s Medication
It's critical your loved one takes their medication at the right time, in the proper doses, and on the right schedule. Establishing a simple system can help your loved one stay on track.
Ensure your loved one follows instructions and that you fully understand the intent of the medicine. Read all labels and any available documentation. Speak with your loved one’s doctor or pharmacist to make sure you know what directions your loved one should follow.
Fill all prescriptions at the same pharmacy so the pharmacist confirm there are no interactions or duplicates — especially if your loved one receives prescriptions from more than one doctor. Ask the pharmacist to perform a medication reconciliation every year or when a new prescription is added to the regimen to check for duplicates or potential interactions.
Check with your loved one’s doctors or pharmacist to see if their medication dosages and schedule could be streamlined. The physician may be able to prescribe medication in a different dosage that can be taken less often or at the same time as other medications to reduce the number of times your loved one needs to remember to take their pills.
Find a Medication Reminder System That Works for Your Senior
Here are six helpful strategies to help your senior loved one stay on track with medication reminders:
- Create a simple checklist
As the number of prescriptions increases, the instructions can become more complicated. Create a weekly written checklist or a grid to track medications and dosages.
- Use a pill organizer to pre-plan each week’s medications
A pill organizer can help make medication planning simple. If the drug packaging is cumbersome and not user-friendly, you can transfer the medication into the pill organizer to alleviate trouble. Help your loved one fill their pill organizer on a weekly basis. Ask your pharmacy if it offers a service that groups pills that need to be taken simultaneously into a blister pack. These blister packs make keeping pills organized easier for your senior and you.
- Tie the medication to your loved one’s activities of daily living
Look for opportunities to form a habit. For example, your loved one could take medication when sitting down at breakfast or when brushing their teeth at night. This will vary depending on the medication, time of the day it should be taken, with or without food, etc. Make sure to follow the instructions from your doctor or pharmacist.
- Set alarms on your loved one’s clock, watch, or cell phone
Call your loved one to remind them to take their medication. You can also install a medication reminder app on their smartphone. Many apps are free and include features such as refill reminders, interaction warnings, and the ability to share medication checklists and adherence reports with you.
- Count your loved one’s pills frequently to track missing or extra doses
Create an additional vetting process, such as counting pills to ensure your loved one follows the prescribed medication schedule.
- Hire a professional caregiver
If your senior is having trouble managing their medications even with a solid system in place, hiring a professional caregiver to be by their side is often helpful. A dedicated Visiting Angels caregiver can be an extra set of eyes to monitor your senior’s safety and comfort.
Visiting Angels Offers Medication Reminder Support
A professional in-home caregiver from Visiting Angels means your senior won’t need to keep track of medications on their own. Your loved one will receive the companionship and support of a trusted senior care professional at home when needed most.
Discover how Visiting Angels can help your loved one with medication reminders to keep them safe and protected at home by contacting your local Visiting Angels agency for a free home care consultation.