If you feel like managing your medications is stressful and confusing, you’re not alone.
Nine in ten older adults take prescription medication, and over half of those people (about 55%) are non-compliant, meaning mistakes are made when taking medication.
Medication regimens can be difficult to follow. With multiple medications, different doses, and multiple times a day, the room for error is large. Medication errors are dangerous, and medication adherence is necessary.
Medication errors can lead to events such as:
People living with Alzheimer’s or cognitive impairment are at an increased risk for medication errors, not only with their own medications but with the medications of loved ones. Without a tamper-proof medication container, some may take the incorrect medications.
Nearly 200,000 older adults are hospitalized per year due to medication non-compliance, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Sometimes, these hospitalizations lead to needing residential care.
Luckily, there are tools that you can use to keep yourself on track and organized with your medication and stay independent at home - these are referred to as medication dispensers or pill organizers.
They can store prescription meds, vitamins, or supplements. In this guide, we’ll look at some of our favorite pill dispensers that can help you stay on track with your medications.
Basic pill boxes can be found in many places- your local superstore, pharmacy, or on Amazon. Pill organizers are sectioned off for each day, and even the time of day. Some are one-time, and others might have two or three rows to allow for the morning, noon, and nighttime medications.
If you determine a system and leave the pill organizer in eyesight, this can be an easy solution.
Plus, if you’re unsure whether you took them or not, just check to ensure the box is empty. These are inexpensive tools that you can use to keep medications organized.
Keep in mind, sometimes the boxes can be challenging to open, so find one that is comfortable for you. These tools also do not have an alert system, meaning it’s entirely up to you to take as scheduled.
The Hero Automatic Pill Dispenser allows you to have support with medication management. At a pre-set time, using their compatible app, your pills will drop into a cup at the bottom of the device.
Through Hero Health, your medications will be mailed directly to you from the Hero Health Pharmacists, to be filled into the dispenser. The Hero Automatic Medication dispenser allows for a 90-day supply, different medications to be added, and a varied medication schedule.
If you choose, you can share access to the app with a loved one or caregiver to give them peace of mind with monitoring medications. The app can send them notifications for doses in order for family members to be a backup reminder for you too.
Hero health has a one-time initiation fee and a subscription cost to it that can be covered by an FSA or HSA account if you have one. Some Medicare recipients may even be eligible for the device through a program called Remote Therapeutic Monitoring Program.
Don’t use a smartphone? Check out the Medacube, another smart pill dispenser.
The Medacube has its own screen to preset your medication reminders so that you don’t need a smartphone or app. With MedaCube, prefill your own medications from your regular pharmacy and set reminders for yourself on their tamper-proof device.
The device allows up to 16 types of medications, depending on the type of pill. At the pre-set time, a drawer will open with the correct dose for that day.
While there is a larger, upfront cost for MedaCube, compared to the Hero, it is a one-time cost, with no ongoing subscription.
Medready is an automatic medication dispenser that also can give a report to a trusted loved one if you choose.
If the user does not take their pills in a certain amount of time, their caregiver will be notified by phone call, email, or text.
This device also simply has a one-time cost.
The Medcenter has 31 compartments, broken into 4 sections to hold your doses of medication divided by time. This device uses color coding to mark when doses have been taken.
A simpler, less expensive device this is a great tool for those looking for a little additional support for their medication adherence.
The Medcenter also has a one-time cost with no subscription fee.
If you’re shopping for an automatic pill dispenser you can go directly to the company’s website, or check out epill - a website with various automatic pill management tools.
Make your life easier by using a medication dispenser to support your independence and aging in place.
Laurel McLaughlin has over a decade worth of experience in various sectors of the elder care field- home care, senior living, and non-profits. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is a certified dementia practitioner.
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