How to Help Seniors Remember Medications
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How to Help Seniors Remember Medications

It is estimated that approximately 44 percent of men and 57 percent of women that are over the age of 65 are currently taking five or more prescription medications. As a person ages, it can become more and more difficult to properly manage these medications. Improper medication management can lead to poorly managed health conditions and even a dangerous medical emergency.

Let’s consider some of the ways that we can help elderly family members and loved ones better manage their medications.

1.Take Medications around a Routine

Maintaining a routine is an important part of a senior’s day. It becomes easier to manage different kinds of medications when they’re being taken at the same time every single day. Taking everything with breakfast or at dinner is ideal. Some people keep their medication right in the kitchen next to their coffee maker, so it becomes routine to take the necessary pills once you’re up and moving around.

This situation becomes tricky when there are multiple medications that need to be taken at different times of the day. Instead of losing track, use some sort of assistance to keep everything organized. Setting timers on a smart device can make it easy to keep up with medication doses. You can also use a medication organizer. If medication is missing from a specific a.m. or p.m. compartment, then you know that dose has already been taken.

2.Use Technology

Digital Calendars

In addition to using smart technology to set up alarms or timers, think about sending an e-mail to remind someone when they should be taking medications. You can even use this method to remember when it’s time to refill medications.

A lot of pharmacies provide customers with automatic phone calls when it’s time to refill a prescription. If you have a family member that has a busy schedule or their memory just isn’t what it used to be, something can be added to a Google Calendar so a notification sounds that it’s time to take medication. You can set up a notification that reminds you to take your pills with you when you’re going to be away from the house for the day.

Smart Watch

Smart watches are a great way to stay on top of physical activity, monitor your heart rate and even make a phone call in an emergency. However, a smart watch can be set up to send out a reminder regarding medication information. There are all kinds of styles and varieties, so both men and women can effectively use this method of medication organization.

Medication Tracker Apps

There are apps such as Medisafe Pill & Med Reminder and MyTherapy Pill Reminder that you can download onto a smart phone or smart tablet which allow you to set up alerts for different medications. You can add or remove alerts as needed. An alert can indicate what needs to be taken. This entire process can be set up by a knowledgeable loved one who is helping a senior with their medication management. This also allows for a centralized location where medication information is stored. This data can be taken to routine doctor’s appointments to keep medical professionals in the loop.

Products like Amazon’s Alexa allow you to program reminders for just about anything, including medication alerts. Seniors love these devices for everything from reordering their most used supplies to better managing the medications that they are taking.

3.Consider Where Medications are Located

Medication should be kept somewhere that is safe from moisture, direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. However, it’s also a good idea to keep them located somewhere that will be seen at certain times of the day. This is a simple reminder that it’s time for administration. Some possible spots include the kitchen counter, bathroom cabinet, kitchen table, next to a person’s favorite living room seat, etc.

4. Stopping in to Set Up Medications

If you live nearby an elderly family member or loved one, inquire if they would like you to come by once or twice per week to help them stay organized with their medication. You can help them fill their pill organizer, manage refills or even fill up small cups with medications to be taken at certain times on specific days.

You have the option to pick up the phone and call your loved one to make sure they’ve been remembering their medications. It doesn’t take long to check in, and most elderly family members love when somebody spends a couple of minutes talking to them about what they’ve been doing and how they are.

5. Customized Pill Bottles

More than 131 million people in the United States utilize prescription medications. That means most homes have at least a couple of prescription bottles sitting in their medicine cabinet. Most pharmacies use the same style of bottles regardless of what kind of prescription is being filled. It can quickly become confusing for an elderly person to keep track of what medication is what. The names can be puzzling, especially when you’re factoring in generic versions.

Think of a way to customize your loved one’s pill bottles. This can be as simple as writing the name of the body part on the bottle that a medication helps. For example, a blood pressure medication may say “heart” on it. You can even label bottles with the problem that it fixes. This is extremely effective for medications that are grabbed last minute for some sort of unexpected symptom or problem. The goal is to avoid having your loved one take the wrong prescription.

You can also customize bottles based on whether they’re to be taken in the morning or at night. Jot down some information regarding how many pills should be taken and at what frequency.

6. Get In-Home Help

The purpose of home care for seniors is to provide them with assistance in a number of regards. While most home care agencies don’t allow their staff to administer medications to their clients, they are allowed to verbally remind a person to take their prescriptions. Home care services can also be utilized for prescription refills, picking up medications and keeping everything organized.

Final Thoughts

If you know someone that is need of assistance with their medication management, there are a lot of different options available. The methods utilized to help a person remember their medications will depend on their physical condition, what state of mind they are in and how independent they are with their care. Multiple methods can even be used to really keep everything organized and safe. Remembering to take medication as intended can make a big difference in how an elderly loved one feels and how healthy they are. With so many great technological devices available and the tips we discussed here, this process should be relatively easy to manage.


1. Polypharmacy and Drug Adherence in Elderly Patients – UA Pharmacist

2. Prescription Drugs – Health Policy Institute 

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