How To Help Elderly Remember Medications

Following medical advice and taking medication as prescribed is one way to help manage chronic diseases and illnesses. However, remembering to take the correct medication at the right time can be challenging, especially when on multiple treatments for one or more health conditions.

This article will cover the common medication aids that are used to improve compliance in seniors, and additional strategies that can be utilized to help with remembering to take medication.

8 Medication Aids To Help Seniors Remember To Take Their Medication

Medication aids range from simple to use visual cues and pill organizers to more complex electronic devices that produce auditory reminders or dispense medication at pre-programmed times.

While most medication aids require some initial setup, they offer a more organized way to manage medication and can be a valuable tool to help control diseases through improved compliance.

The following medication aids can be used by a senior to remember to take their medicine with minimal training and practice:

  1. Pill map – a visual guide that shows how often and when medications need to be taken
  1. Do it yourself medication blister pack – create your own bubble packs filled with medication that can be popped open to take meds on the labeled day and time
  1. Stackable pill organizer – stacked design allows each of the 7 pill trays to be removed as the week progresses and minimizes medication errors
  1. Automatic pill dispenser – a programmable device that dispenses the correct medication on the right date and time with a handy reminder alert to take them
  1. Talking medication alarm clock – a clock that can have customized time triggers to remind someone to take their medication
  1. Medication time cap – a medication bottle with an electronic cap that can have programmable alerts and indicates the last time the bottle cap was opened
  1. Pocket pill box with built in alarm – a portable pill box that is attached to an alarm on the other side that reminds someone to take their medications at preset intervals
  1. Portable travel pill container – a simple to use pill organizer that has compartments for morning, noon and night medications with each day represented by a different color

Strategies to help with remembering to take medication

Aside from medication aids, there are other solutions that can be tried to help trigger the memory to remember to take medication.

These are some strategies to help you remember how to take your medicine:

  1. Build a routine of taking medication at the same time – place the medication in an easy to see location like the kitchen table and establish a routine where they are taken each day at the same time to construct a habit
  2. Use a calendar to keep track of whether medications were taken – a simple strategy to recall if medications were taken is to cross off the day or draw a symbol on a calendar
  3. Hire a caregiver for assistance with medication – having additional support from a care worker for medication reminders can improve compliance
  4. Reminder phone calls from friends and family – have an informal helper call at scheduled times for reminders to take meds
  5. Use pharmacy prepared blister packs –  fill prescriptions and have medications organized by the pharmacy into blister package systems to help with compliance
  6. Use a pill reminder and medication tracker app – if handy with a smartphone, use an application for pop up notifications to remember to take meds
  7. Set a recurring alarm on a wrist watch or smart speaker – have a daily alarm programmed to act as a reminder to take medication

Caution: Always take medication as prescribed. Be aware of specific instructions as some may need to be taken with food, on an empty stomach, with plenty of water, at varying frequencies, etc.