During one of my visits with my mom, I observed small collections of pills on the counter that should have been taken several days ago. When I asked her why these medicine piles were on the counter, she didn’t know. I knew we were on the front end of dealing with memory issues, but this revelation was upsetting to both of us and I knew we needed to tackle this issue quickly so she could continue to function safely at home.
Did you know that 85% of seniors are not able to schedule their daily medications correctly?
I could understand some of her confusion as there were meds that address blood pressure, anxiety, memory issues, deep tissue discomfort, and an antivert for balance. Even I was getting confused just trying to plan and schedule her medications.
My first solution was to purchase a flip top weekly pill container. This may work for some, but the problem I encountered was that my mom was free to open it as she saw fit and take the contents accordingly. Though the dosages were correct in theory, she was able to take multiple doses all in one day ……. and she did.
I then found a locked automatic medication dispensing machine. I ordered the e-pill Med Time XL (MD1) machine. It dispenses 2 times a day for 14 days or 4 times a day weekly. The unit has medication reminders that help my mom to take her meds by alerting her with a visual flashing light and a loud 60-minute intermittent alarm. When she turns the machine upside down and empties the compartment’s contents into her hand, the alarm turns off until the next dose is due.
On this particular model, each compartment has the capacity for 15 aspirin-sized tablets. There are four different models to choose from depending on your specific needs. Once the tray is filled and loaded into the machine, you just lock it and the dispensing will continue for 7 or 14 days depending on how you need medications dispensed. You can find these at www.epill.com.
This medication dispenser has preserved my mom’s independence and has given me “peace of mind” knowing that the right medications, in the right dose, are taken at the right time. It may not be the right fit for everyone, but it did teach me a valuable lesson – there are solutions out there to help make any caregiving situation easier.
Gale Adams is the primary caregiver for her mother, father and mother-in-law. As a working dental hygienist, she struggles to juggle her schedule with the daily living needs and constant stream of doctor visits required by each of her parents. With one parent living in her home, one in an assisted living facility, and one struggling to maintain her independence in her own apartment, Gale has a unique perspective on the challenges of caregiving. Gale hopes that by sharing certain resources, experiences and solutions, she can help others through various obstacles they may face as caregivers.