Home Page Text size: A | A | A
High contrast:
    Virtual HomeSpecial ConcernsProductsTCH BlogDonateFAQ

Alzheimer's & Dementia
Kitchen & Dining
Living Room - Any Room
Outdoors - Wandering

Expert Review – Pill Boxes with Alarms

MedTime - Medication Reminder and Dispensing System

American Medical Alert Corp.


epill.com and other internet vendors

Product Update: This company's newest model, MedSmart, automatically calls the caregiver if the person does not take their medications as scheduled.

The listing of these products is for informational purposes and individuals must use their own caution and judgment when using these resources. Functional levels and changes in judgment and reasoning are highly variable in people with dementia. Interventions must be individualized and continually assessed because those that are effective for some individuals may only work briefly and may not work at all for others.

The MedTime device provides an alert and dispenses medications up to 28 times before it needs to be reloaded with meds. The setup procedure is relatively straightforward for this type of electronic device – similar to setting the functions on a digital watch. It has 28 compartments for medications to be filled by the caregiver. If there are four medication times per day, the device can be loaded for a full week (4 x 7 = 28). At each medication time, the dispenser flashes a light and rings an alarm until someone turns it upside down to pour the pills into the hand; it turns off after an hour if not turned off. The device has a lock to prevent access to more meds than are needed at any time.

Assuming four uses per day, can be loaded with meds for an entire week at a time.

Automates medication dispensing.

Straightforward setup.

Easy to use.

Several different alarm sounds are available.

The device has several test functions to determine whether it is working correctly.

Dispensing is automatic, but there is no assurance that the meds are actually taken.

A person with dementia may not be able to learn how to use a new dispensing system.

A person with dementia may be agitated by the alarm or by the locked dispenser.

At some point, the person may no longer understand what to do when the alarm rings. Be sure to check frequently that the person understands how to use the dispenser and is actually taking their pills at the appointed times.

Product Selection Criteria

Our goal is to teach you how to be a good consumer and to help you learn about specific products and unique product features that may enhance your safety and the safety and function of the person with dementia. The products shown in This Caring Home serve as examples only. Manufacturers continually change product specifications and the products represented may be different from those now on the market.

We realize this is not an all-inclusive list. Products featured in This Caring Home were chosen for one or more of the following reasons:
  • Affordability
  • Attractiveness
  • Availability
  • Color selection
  • Ease of use
  • Quality
  • Safety
We encourage you to discuss product selection with other caregivers and health care professionals.

How We Tested

"ThisCaringHome.org tested many products that are commonly recommended for best practices to identify the best use of these products and any potential problems in their use by caregivers and individuals with dementia. Each product included in an Expert Review was tested in a home environment, either an apartment or a single family home (or both), by at least two people. Rosemary Bakker, interior designer, gerontologist and dementia specialist, was one of the testers for every product. Whenever possible, we tested the product over time, sometimes days, weeks, or months, for:
  • Ease of use
  • Reliability
  • Potential safety issues
As a result of our testing, we're listing the pros and cons for using these products and including safety precautions for various products. These products were not tested by persons with dementia. We hope in the future to do case studies to learn more about what works and what doesn't work in a larger variety of caregiving situations and home environments."

Products listed on our website but not tested by ThisCaringHome.org are referred to as "Product Listings".

© Weill Cornell Medical College | Contact Us | Disclaimer | Share/Bookmark