Helping Seniors to Remember Their Medication

Do you have a senior friend, family member or loved one who’s been prescribed medication? Medication is often prescribed to men and women of all ages, but it’s most common among seniors. According to a report by the American Association of Consultant Pharmacists, seniors between the ages of 65 and 69 take an average of 15 prescription medications, whereas seniors between the ages of 80 and 84 take 18 prescription medications.

Unfortunately, many seniors forget to take some or all of their medication. While skipping a daily aspirin probably won’t cause any ill effect, failure to take blood pressure or cholesterol medicine is downright dangerous. So, how can you help a senior to remember his or her prescription medication?

Follow a Schedule

For starters, you can encourage the senior to follow a schedule in which he or she takes the same medication at the same time each day. Seniors respond to well to regular schedules — and medication-taking schedules are no exception.

Without a schedule, seniors are likely to forget some or all of their prescription medication. If a senior takes his or her prescription medication at night one day and in the morning the following day, the senior may forget about it. Getting the senior into a schedule helps to prevent missed doses. This is just one of several ways to help a senior remember to take his or her prescription medication.

Invest in a Pill Box

Assuming he or she doesn’t already own, you should consider buying the senior a pill box. Don’t just buy a generic and nondescript pill box but, instead, invest in a weekly or monthly pill box with an individual compartment for each day.

Weekly pill boxes contain seven individual compartments, including one for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Monthly pill boxes, on the other hand, contain 30 or 31 individual compartments, with each compartment reserved for a specific day of the month.

Prior to the upcoming week or month, go ahead and add the senior’s medication to each of the pill box’s individual compartments. You can then place the pill box in an area that’s familiar to the senior, such as his or her nightstand. With the prescription medication already sorted, the senior shouldn’t forget to take it.

Set an Alarm

Of course, you can also set an alarm to remind the senior when it’s time to take his or her prescription medication. There are smartphones and tablet apps that are designed specifically for this purpose. The Pill Medication & Tracker app, for instance, allows you to create a custom notification schedule that alerts the senior when it’s time to take his or her medication.

Write a Note

Sometimes all it takes is a handwritten note to prevent a senior from missing his or her prescription medication. Notes work best when created daily. On a note, write the day of the week at the top, followed by the type of medication the senior needs and when he or she needs to take it. You can then place the note on the senior’s refrigerator or elsewhere in his or her home. Just remember to place the note in an area where the senior can easily see it.

Add Electronic Reminder Tops

There are also electronic reminder tops that can help seniors to remember their prescription medication. What are electronic reminder tops exactly? Available for sale at many pharmacies, as well as online stores, they are devices that remind seniors when it’s time to take their prescription medication.

Reminder tops are designed to fit most pill bottles. To use a reminder top, remove the original top on the pill box and replace it with the reminder top. After installing the reminder top, you can configure it according to the senior’s medication schedule. When it’s time to take a prescription medication, the reminder top will trigger an alarm and/or display a notification on the screen.

Call or Visit the Senior

You can also call or visit the senior to remind him or her to take their prescription medication. With age comes with the loss of short-term memory. Even if a senior sees a note or hears an alarm, he or she may forget to their medication. By calling or visiting the senior, though, you can remind them.

Get Refills in Advance

Some seniors may forget to refill their prescription medication, which is just as bad as forgetting to take it. If a senior doesn’t get a refill, he or she may have to go a short period without the medication. Therefore, you should help the senior refill his or her prescription medication in advance.

For most non-controlled prescription medications, pharmacies will allow the senior to refill them about one month in advance or two days before the senior runs out. You should check the pharmacy’s refill guidelines beforehand, but most pharmacies allow advance refills.

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