Whether you are an older adult or a caregiver, your daily routine includes many tasks that become more complex over time. One of them is administering your medication.
As we get older, we are also faced with more chronic health conditions that require regular medical treatment. In North America, seniors use more drugs — prescription, over-the-counter, or supplements — than any other age group. It can quickly become overwhelming to manage all the medication we must take several times a day along with other activities of daily living. The My Medadvisor mobile app is a great tech option to use for daily pill reminders—once it’s set up, an alert will let you know it’s time to take your medicine.
Though side effects also come into play. Often, drug side effects may occur temporarily when a drug is reaching a steady state, that is, the level of the drug in the body is rising. If you miss a few doses and then have to return to your steady-state when you restart your medication, you are more likely to experience those temporary side effects again. This is another good reason not to miss your dose.
Here are some tips to help you memorize to take your meds:
Pillboxes are an organization tool for your pills that can be easily found at most pharmacies. Pillboxes have been around for a long time, and are especially useful if you easily forget if you took your meds each day. Pillboxes are also very useful for people who take multiple medicines every day and at different times.
Older patients may find pillboxes especially convenient to use. The boxes are divided into different sections, which hold a week’s worth of medicine, or more, and may also differ by time of day.
Connect Your Medication Dose to Daily Activity
You can tie your medication dose to a daily routine such as at breakfast time, after a shower, or when you get ready for bed. Keep your medicines in an easy-to-see (but safe) place as a visual clue. Make sure you keep your medications in a safe area away from curious children and pets. Very soon taking your medicines will be as routine as brushing your teeth.
Protect your medicines from extreme heat or cold, and don’t leave them in a steamy bathroom. Most drugs are stable at room temperature, but under extreme conditions, they can lose their potency, crumble or even melt.
Store Meds in Smart Bottles.
With sensors and wireless connectivity, pill bottles and caps can also keep you on top of your doses, keeping your reminders and medication all in one place. It’s also effective: You’re 60 to 90% more likely to stick to your schedule when using one of these gadgets. In addition to keeping you on track, some have additional features, such as sending a text if you miss a dose, or automatically ordering refills when your supply is low.
Try Types of Calendar Alerts to Remember to Take Your Medicine
The calendar is one of the ways to remember to take your medicine. Some people get intimidated by smart pillboxes or smartphone apps. Again, these seniors prefer a simple calendar. They are great tools too. If your phone allows it, name the alarm with some easy terminologies. If you’re traveling, you might want to consider changing the alarm based on the hours the time zone changes. Just be sure to update it frequently and mark it through each dose as you take it, in case you forget a dose.
Create A Morning or Bedtime Routine
Routine is one of the easiest ways to handle many medications. In the morning, you probably always remember to shower, brush your teeth, comb your hair, etc. as it is part of your morning routine. Similarly, in the evening before sleeping.
By making regular pills or supplements a part of your morning routine or bedtime ritual, it will become something you do on your own. In fact, in a recent analysis of drug compliance rates conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), -50% of patients admit they are not taking their medications as prescribed. To improve medication adherence, the multifactorial causes of low adherence must be understood. Perfect for taking your meds anywhere in between changing into pajamas and taking out your contacts.
Whether you are managing your absence or caring for a relative, medication reminders are one of the most useful aspects of daily medical care. From pill-minder trays to online calendars, a little help can go a long way in keeping track of many medications. At most, it’s a way to conserve a little bit of brainpower, so you don’t need to be overly careful with your medicine every time you take it. And in the worst case, effective medication reminders can be the difference between life and death.