When taking multiple medications, it is not always easy to follow the doctor-prescribed schedule. For elderly parents especially, forgetting to take medication is a common concern. This issue is especially complicated by conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia, which directly affect one’s memory. Here are some simple and practical medication reminder ideas for your parent:
Maintain a Set Schedule
Remembering to take your medication is always more difficult if you eat and sleep at erratic times and do not have a set daily schedule. Create a routine. In following a more structured schedule, your parent can incorporate taking medication at a predictable and reliable point in the day, like after breakfast or before bedtime. Of course keep in mind instructions regarding, for example, taking on an empty stomach, which would not time well with a post-meal routine.
Use a Pill Box Organizer
A pill box is a simple device you can use to organize medicine by days of the week and even times of day. It is especially handy if your parent has a complex medication routine and needs to take different pills at different times. Some advanced models even alert you with a beep when it’s time to take a dose. With help from a caregiver to organize the medicine on a weekly basis, it’s as easy as taking the designated dose on cue. Pharmacies too can play a part in organizing meds by supplying prescriptions in pre-sorted blister packs.
Create a Checklist
The act of writing and reading instructions can help solidify the memory. Help your parent create a checklist, whether on paper, an erasable wipe board, or on your parent’s phone. The checklist should list medications and suggested dose times. Cross off the items as the day/week progresses. Remember to also include refill reminders and follow-up appointments with the doctor on the list.
Set an Alarm
An alarm can be a good cue to jog the memory. This is especially important if there is a tight time period in which a medicine must be taken. Assist your parent with setting an alarm on their watch, clock, or phone. For more detailed instructions, you can set a text alert, email alert, or install a medication reminder app if your parent has a smartphone.
Your parent should not be afraid to ask for help. Failure to take medications can lead to negative drug interactions, unwelcome side effects, illness, or necessitate a hospital visit. If your parent is forgetful with taking medication or their medication routine is becoming increasingly complex, there is help available. Our caregivers can remind you when it is time to take medications, provide assistance with opening pill bottles, and coordinate trips to the pharmacy as needed to ensure your parent’s medication schedule is not interrupted.
Forgetting to take medications is a common issue with elderly parents and people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Medication is so important in helping live a comfortable, healthy life as free from symptoms as possible. Need some addition help? Ask us how we can play a part in ensuring Mom or Dad stay on course when it comes to taking medications.
- Stephen Bleeker