As people age, they are often required to take more medication. In addition to prescribed medications, over the counter medications are also taken. For individuals with memory issues, remembering what to take, and when to take it can be a challenging. If an individual does show any signs of memory loss, completing these steps accurately can be too demanding. For safety reasons, someone needs to step in to pay attention to how medications are managed. Here’s what to look for:
Are pills dispensed individually from bottles or is a weekly pill organizer used?
How do they know what time of day to take pills?
Do they know how which pills to take and the quantity?
Do they know when to discontinue medication when it is no longer required?
How do they know when to refill medications?
If there is any doubt that medications are not being managed correctly, it is time to take action. The first step is to confirm that all prescribed medications are needed. Sometimes a medication is prescribed following a hospitalization, but is not required to be taken on an ongoing basis.
Call the prescribing physician and review all medications. Check out the “still in effect” date of all over the counter medications.
Managing pills with a pill organizer is a common way to mange medications; however, there are now some great options to make life easier for caregivers to manage multiple medications. Here are some choices:
Automatic pill dispensers- This is a machine that is programed to dispense the exact pill(s) at the exact time. Some machines beep or give a voice command when pills are dispensed.
Blister Packs- This can be requested at your local pharmacy. The 30-day sheet is customized with date and time to take medication and you only need to push out the pill(s) from the back of the sheet. Convenient for travelling. Some pharmacies do not charge extra for this program
Multi-dose packs- Similar to the concept of blister packs; however, this is a 30-day supply with an individual daily strip. Each strip is customized with the prescription, dosage, date, day of the week and time to take the dose. Also convenient for travel.
To successfully change the existing system requires a conversation. Explain that there is an easier way to take medication that requires less time and effort. Keep in mind that due to changes in how the individual processes and retains information, you might get push back but work together with patience.
Vivian Green Korner, MA, Certified Dementia Practitioner, is a dementia care specialist in private practice. She works with families who need guidance, direction and help with decisions that they need to make when caring for an individual with dementia. Vivian’s goal is to support families with practical advice, solutions to deal with the many challenges and help families to find the best match to programs, services and professionals.
Viviangreenkorner.com | 201.960.4277