Most pharmacies provide reminders by phone or email to their customers to pick up a needed refill of a daily prescribed drug. That’s great, but it does not solve the problem for older-aged adults of remembering to take a daily medication and take it correctly. Indeed, around 50% of all seniors prescribed medication to manage their disorders do not take them as prescribed. Besides forgetting to take a prescribed pill, taking them at the wrong time of day or mixing them up altogether also occurs.  

The following are some alarming statistics to consider about older-aged adults’ medication use. At least 90% of all seniors in the US take at least one prescribed daily medication, and 36% take five or more different ones each day. Meanwhile, up to 96% of seniors report that they frequently make mistakes in taking their prescribed drugs (per an article in 2019 in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology). 

How to lessen the likelihood of forgetting which daily medication to take 

Many prescribed pills look quite similar. However, some are of a different color, have indented areas in order to cut them, or have the pharmaceutical manufacturer’s name carved into them. Yet others are rectangular rather than round, or are in capsule or gummy form. Creating a poster to tape to your bedroom wall of a photo of each pill – with its name plus its corresponding instructions for use – is one strategy that can aid you (or your loved one) in telling those daily medications apart. This can take time to create, but it can be especially useful for people who put their pills in some type of pill box organizer. 

Rather than placing all daily pills in a single (small) pill box, using a large pill box organizer with separate compartments for each day of the week can be an excellent strategy. However, the correct pill still has to be placed in the correct compartment. By taking a photo of each medication with its description (pasted onto a poster board that is taped to a wall), a dropped pill that lands on the kitchen table can be more easily identified to place it back in the correct compartment. 

Using digital devices as a reminder tool for taking medications 

Smartphones and other digital devices can be set up to provide a reminder on-screen to take your daily medication. In a recent study focused on people diagnosed with epilepsy, 71% reported using their cell phones to remind them to take their daily medication. Writing down each pill to be taken each day into a desk “calendar” (that includes a line for each hour of the day) may appear to be best for senior-aged people that do not know how to use smartphones or tablets. However, that manual method typically requires far more time and mental concentration to maintain correctly. Furthermore, it can result in accidentally writing the medication reminder on the wrong date and/or on the wrong calendar line corresponding to the time of day to take each pill. 

A better strategy includes using all-in-one home health devices that can store your medications, take pictures, serve up pictures on each medication, and send reminders.  

That’s exactly what the Ōmcare Home Health Hub®  does while providing smartphone updates and real-time reporting to loved ones and caregivers. This eliminates the burden of manual sorting, manual reminders, or needing multiple devices to put it all together. 

However you go about it, increasing the ease of getting the right med at the right time is critical to patient comfort, quality of life, and safety.