It’s very common for an elderly person to be taking several doses of prescribed medication each day. And the list of drugs seems to only get longer and longer over the years. This makes it increasingly more difficult for someone to properly manage their medication, which is concerning because a missed or wrong dose can have dire consequences.
According to the National Council on Patient Information and Education, around 90 percent of Medicare recipients take prescription drugs, and two out of five reported having to take five or more medications — and many are non-adherent to doctor’s orders. This non-adhereance all adds up to $1 billion annually in hospital costs, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Meanwhile the FDA figures that more than two million serious adverse drug reactions occur each year, which are responsible for about 100,000 deaths annually.
If your loved one is taking several medications daily, you may want to take the time to help them better organize their pills, especially if they have poor vision and/or cognition problems.Â Here are some medication management tips via Caring.org.
There are many reminder technologies that can help, including:
Telephone-based medication reminders have the lowest cost and least intervention, according to Caring.org. Usually for a monthly fee in the $15-$20 range you can subscribe to an automated calling service that calls your loved one each day to remind them to take their medication. If the person doesn’t answer or acknowledge the reminder, the system will notify the designated contact (likely you) by email and/or telephone. No fancy new telephone required.
Another option is the Pill Phone, which is available through wireless carriers like Verizon an AT&T.
Reminders integrated as part of home monitoring or safety devices
Several personal emergency response systems should be available through your local pharmacy. Caring.org notes that these services are often built around wearable products such as pendants or watches. These vary in degrees of sophistication — from programmable medication reminders to a personalized emergency response system.
Electronic pill-dispensing systems
Electronic pill boxes are a small yet advanced way to offer medication reminders. These may be ideal for seniors who can load and count their own pills, or those with regular support from a caregivers. If you can afford it, there are also lockable electronic pill dispenser systems that cost upwards of $1,000.
Which level of intervention depends on your loved one’s ability to independently take medication. When choosing a medication reminder, Caring.org suggests envisioning your loved one’s ever-evolving need for medication management and intervention, taking into account his or her current needs and what those needs might be in the near future.
Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.
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