Tie it to an event.
If remembering when & how to take medication is tough, try to schedule meds around mealtimes, brushing teeth, or other daily rituals. Pick the ritual based on the number of times you or your loved one needs to take a med.
Set an alarm.
It’s easy to set up a phone alarm specifically for medication taking. If you are caring for someone outside of your home, set an alarm as a reminder to call your loved one and have a chat… while reminding them to take their meds!
If you or a loved one have vision issues that mean you can’t easily read a prescription or medicine bottle, tell your pharmacist. They can print out labels with bigger text to help with reading the label, dose, and prescriber name.
There is lots of new technology out there to help with this. There are self-dispensing med machines that make a sound when its time to take medicine and then dispense it. There are also special pill bottle caps that can count the times they have been opened.
But, if memory continues to be a real struggle with med management, it is also an indicator that it is time for more hands-on care.
Depending on your loved one’s illness or disability, swallowing can be a concern. Also, some people just have an aversion to pills, despite being healthy. If this is the case, ask your doctor. There are often other ways of prescribing meds such as patches, liquid medication, and suppositories.
This one is tough. You can‘t make someone take something they don’t want to take as long as they have the ability to make their own decisions. If they don’t have that ability, they shouldn’t be taking their own meds and it’s time for a caregiver.
Hearing can be a real source of isolation, and can also be a problem in med management. If your loved one struggles with hearing, make sure they actually HEARD what the doctor, the pharmacist, or their caregiver said about how to take their meds. Ask the provider to “speak up” and have them write down the directions, in simple language.
Arthritic hands and other disabilities can make it hard to take medicines. There are “easy-open” pill bottles which can be requested. Also, the pharmacist can cut pills in half for you before you leave the pharmacy, so as to get the correct dose.
For other types of medication, like inhalers or insulin, it is helpful and likely necessary to have a caregiver to assist.