Keeping track of medications is crucial for the elderly.
A wide range of medications helps the elderly live longer, more productive lives. But not following a prescription properly, or not taking a medication at all, can lead to serious health problems. If you’re a senior on medication or you care for someone who is, here are some ways to organize medications and make sure they are taken when prescribed.
- Use different sized bottles for each medication.
- Mark the tops of bottles with different colors to make it easier to distinguish one kind from another.
- Place medications on a shelf in alphabetical order or based on how often they’re taken; a drug that requires three daily doses could go on the left, while one that requires a single dose could go on the right.
Pill boxes, or organizers, provide a way to keep all of a day’s medication handy. Many organizers hold up to a week’s worth of pills. For seniors taking multiple medications in one day, they can get an organizer with multiple compartments for each day.
Pill organizers can be simple plastic boxes or more sophisticated electronic versions, with such features as:
- Beepers to notify when a pill should be taken
- Automatic dispensing of a dose
- Remote monitoring to alert a caregiver if medication has not been taken
Seniors who don’t want to use a pill organizer can keep track of which medications they’re supposed to take at what time by writing down the schedule for their doses on a calendar. Once they take the dose, they mark it off. Smartphone apps are also available to remind people when to take their medication.
General Tips for Medication
- Store them in a cool, dry place.
- Throw out medications when your doctor tells you to stop taking them.
- Throw out medications after the expiration date on the label.
At North Hills Hospital, we want to make sure the elderly take all their medications properly and pursue every opportunity to ensure good health. The Dr. David Pillow Senior Health Clinic provides a variety of services and classes. Call 817-255-1940 for more information. If you need a physician referral, please call 1-855-5NHILLS.