You probably have noticed, if you have read any of my other articles directed toward the aging population, that my primary concern is to help an elder stay at home as long as possible; that means until the end of their days or until they make the choice to move somewhere else. One of the major causes of confusion which leads to problems for elders in the home as we age is over or under medication. We either take too much medicine or not enough. Accepting the fact that a little help could correct all of that for a while will keep you in the home.
When you start to forget if you’ve taken your medicine, use a medicine box. They’re inexpensive and you can get them practically anywhere. The big box store we all know about has a huge assortment. They come in an array of choices that will hold your pills for one day up to a week. However, they don’t work for everyone because of their size. Manufacturers of pill boxes don’t seem to realize that some very ill people take up to nine maybe eleven pills at a time. Try fitting those into one of the little boxes. But with some creative thought those types of medication dosages can even be managed.
Let’s start with the method. First you need to know what day it is. Hang a calendar over the spot you’ve selected to keep your pill box or container. Attach a marker with a piece of string to your calendar. Use a marker, not a pen, markers are easier to see. Mark off days at the end of the day, so the next day you know where to start. Double check this with the morning news. If you don’t watch television; use the morning paper to get the date. If you don’t have a morning paper, get a watch with the date and a magnifying glass so you can read it.
Next; shop for a box that fits your medication regime. How many times a day do you take pills? There are boxes that accommodate dosages of up to five times a day. However a really good doctor will try to reduce the amount of times you need to take a pill; understanding that presents problems as we age. Now, set up that pill box. For those of you with more medication than will fit in the little slots of the pill boxes; try a using cupcake tin and mini food savers. With a permanent marker, write the day, for instance Monday on the lid and the container so as not to get them confused. You may need containers for morning, noon, and night and possibly in between. Put the containers in the cupcake tin so they stay organized. Put them order of days of the days of the week. Make a special spot on the kitchen counter for them with your calendar. Don’t feel strange about this. You’re taking steps to stay organized, manage your medications, feel better, and maintain your independence.