Next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store, look to your left, then look to your right. Both those people are probably taking some sort of medication. Nothing unusual about that, but if you’re older and trying to manage multiple medications or multiple health conditions, it can become tricky to remember when to take what. To add more stress to the situation, what if you’re a caregiver responsible for the care of more than one person such as an adult child caring for both parents?
Taking medications correctly is often difficult to achieve. It means that the patient has to fill the prescription, understand the directions, and remember to take the medication. Doesn’t sound difficult on the surface, but there are complicating factors.
What if you are taking medication for multiple health conditions? What if some drugs need to be taken on an empty stomach and others with food. What if you’re dealing with Alzheimers? You can see how person’s medical condition can interfere with their ability to comply with the prescription. It’s easy to see how medication adherence can quickly become a nightmare.
Often there are multiple pharmacies and multiple doctors involved which only complicates things. The responsibility of giving medication falls on caregivers such as adult children who, of course, have to juggle multiple priorities. Usually a caregiver is not a medical professional and finds the task of dispensing pills daunting to say the least. It’s easy to see how you can forget pills in the midst of doctors appointments, meals, and all the other daily tasks that need to be done.
Automated Pill Dispensers
The modern pill dispenser is much more than a little plastic box labeled Monday through Friday. Thanks to technology, automatic pill dispensers are sophisticated tools that can email caregivers and page patients with reminders to take medication at prescribed times.
There are different kinds of systems. Some are wristwatches that sound an alarm or vibrate at various times throughout the day. The software in the device can be programmed with the patient’s name, the doctor’s name, and other information.
The pager-type devices are great for seniors who want to stay in their home and just need a little help remembering to take medication. They’re also great for children who take medication. The vibration feature is discrete and will remind them to see the nurse at designated times for meds.
If you want a solution that actually dispenses medication, there is an option for that as well. Some pill dispensers allow for remote monitoring by caregivers. The system has to be set up in advance, but it will give a monthly report that can be reviewed by the physician. There are enough options available to make sure you never forget pills again.