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medication management
memory aids & dipensers

Below are a few ideas to help you think about how to manage your care receiver's medications. The system you choose will depend on the person's remaining memory and judgment skills. Regardless of which system you choose, be sure:
    They can read the labels - you may have to put larger labels on the bottles or pill boxes (and if they can no longer comprehend text, you'll have to administer all medications.)

    They can open the pill boxes or pill bottles (or ask the pharmacist for easy-to-open bottle caps if there are no children living in the household).

    To check often that the current system is working, as their needs will change.
When it's time for you to manage and dispense their medications, one of the systems below might also be helpful for you as the caregiver.

Notebooks Recording when meds are taken is helpful to some, especially for liquid medications such as eye drops; you  can't visually check to see if eye drops have been taken the way you can with a pill.

Reminder Notes Use large lettering and place the notes where the person will see them.

Reminder Phone Calls In the early stages, a daily reminder phone call may help. If you try this intervention, be sure the phones are located for safe, easy access and that the person can clearly hear what you are saying. Click here for more information on easy-to-use phones. You can either make the calls yourself or use an automated service.

Automated Voice Reminders This type of reminder can be made by using
  • a device you purchase and attach to the phone or
  • a remote service (similar to a voicemail system).
Both allow caregivers to record a reminder in their own voice and can be set to play throughout the day. For example, "Mom, it's 1:00 o'clock, time to take your Coumadin." If the person doesn't acknowledge the voice reminder message, the caregiver is contacted with an alert.

7-Day Pill Boxes with Multiple Sections Best filled by you (the caregiver), at a glance the person can tell if they've taken their pills for a given time period. Some caregivers fill one or several boxes at a time (and put aside the others in a safe place). Choose the best location (e.g., kitchen table) to keep the pillbox. If the person takes meds before bedtime, consider getting a separate, smaller pill box for their bedside.

Pill Boxes with Alarms You can program these lockable devices to dispense pills at set times throughout the day. An alarm continues to sound (with a maximum time limit) until the person picks up the pill box. Read Expert Review.

Wrist Watches with Alarms These watches can be programmed to remind the person to take their medications at set times throughout the day. Some watches sound an audible alarm, while others vibrate and display a scrolling text for the medication to take. Read Expert Reviews.


Medication Safety

Alzheimier's Association

Personal Medication Record

University of Florida

24-Hour Helpline

Information, referral, support

Alzheimer's Association

Online Care Calendar

Lotsa Helping Hands

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