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No More Missed Meds

The latest alarm pill organizers and monitoring services help seniors get back on track.

By Julie Davis

Despite all the emphasis on the need for reform to our medical system and the fears seniors have about changes to their Medicare coverage, many Americans are unaware of one of the greatest threats to the wellbeing of the elderly: missed doses of prescription drugs. According to some researchers, only one third of seniors may be taking their medications as prescribed and another third may not be taking them at all, with the final third not taking them correctly. Often called the world’s “other drug problem”, non-adherence to medication directives accounts for more than 10 percent of older adult hospital admissions and one out of four nursing home admissions.

Part of the problem is the number of drugs a senior may need to take and what could be a confusing mix of dose sizes and frequency. If one medication is needed twice a day while others are taken three times, if one dose of one drug is a single pill and the dose of another med is two pills, it’s easy to see how confusing it can be without good organization. However, more than confusing, it can be extremely dangerous. Many drugs are life-saving necessities, yet if a pharmacist or another healthcare provider hasn’t reviewed all prescription items you’re taking, you could be subjected to drug interactions can present a life-threatening set of problems.

“Only one third of seniors may be taking their medications as prescribed and another third may not be taking them at all, with the final third not taking them correctly.”

To combat most of these issues and make taking medications—known as drug “compliance”—easier, a variety of organizers and systems have been developed. They offer a wide array of features, including services that pre-fill the pill box assortment, models that sound an alarm or visual aid when it’s time to take a dose, visual monitoring by a technician who watches the patient take the pills, emails or phone calls to alert patient, caregiver and/or family member if a dose has been forgotten or if the wrong dose was taken. The best option is the model or system that answers the needs of the individual.

Choices To Consider

The better pillbox organizer. A 1-week, 4-week or 31-day organizer with compartments for each dose needed on each day makes it easy for patient, caregiver or pharmacist to load once a month and eliminates the need to reach for an assortment of pill bottles numerous times a day. A simple 8-day pill organizer can be an inexpensive and helpful daily living aid. Basic models, like the Aculife One Week Plus Today Pill Box, are available for under $10.