You can probably remember a time when you, your family or your caregiver forgot about your medications. It's easy to get caught up in the activity around you and forget to take your medication—this is true for people of all ages. But for many prescriptions to be effective, a consistent medication routine is required. Keeping track of your medication is important for maintaining your health in a safe way. Here are six tips to help you establish a proper medication routine.
Pick specific times in the day to take your medications. It might be the moment you wake up, right before your midafternoon nap or right before or after dinner—as long as you take your medications at the same time every day.
Being consistent with when you take your medications in the day is important for several reasons. Some medications, like those prescribed to treat blood pressure, can vary in their effectiveness based on how consistent dosages are taken. Most medications come with recommendations for taking each dose around the same time each day or instructions on how often you should take it for the most effective results.
If you find visuals helpful, consider hanging up a monthly calendar or whiteboard in your assisted living apartment. Not only do calendars and whiteboards help keep you organized with all your weekly activities, but they can also help track your medication regimen. Take your calendar or whiteboard and write out specific details of your medication routine. You can include when and what time you'll take your medications each day, the doses you need or if they are any changes in your prescriptions you can expect.
Once you've filled out your calendar or whiteboard, hang it up in a space of your apartment that you frequently walk through so you never forget about taking your medication. You can also check off the medications each day or do something fun like add a sticker to your calendar so you can see that you took your meds.
If you're pretty active and are on the go often, a calendar at home might not do you much good. Plus, you want to take your medications on time, but it's a hassle to carry around all those perspiration pill bottles.
If you need to find all your medications in one place or carry some with you, considering purchasing a daily pill box for your medications. Most pill boxes are lightweight plastic containers conveniently labeled with the days of the week. Ration out your prescription pills according to your required dosages at the beginning of the week, and then rely on the pill box to keep you organized.
These boxes also come in a wide variety of styles and colors that can fit the specific needs of your routine. You can buy pill boxes at most department stores, but here is a link to pill boxes available for purchase on Amazon.
If you own a phone or a pager device, you can set daily alarms to help maintain your medication routine. Most cellular devices and tablets also include alarms, so you can set reminders for your medications with a few swipes of your fingertips. Be sure to set your reminder to the correct time (not setting the alarm for the PM when you meant to set it to the AM, for example). Don't have an electronic device? If you own one, you can still set an alarm on a manual alarm clock as well. As long as you can hear it, it should work to help you in maintaining your medication routine.
This is a fun suggestion, but it might help you to remember your medication routine. Keep your prescription pill bottles upside down in your cabinet before taking your medication. Your medication being upside down in your medicine cabinet serves as a visual reminder that you haven't taken your daily requirements yet. Once you take your medications, set them back upright in the cabinet until you return later in the day to overturn them for tomorrow. If you're afraid that you'll forget to place the pills upside in the cabinet, keep your medication in an open area of your apartment instead, like on your nightstand or kitchen counter.
Some seniors might require extra assistance in maintaining medication regimes. If you have difficulty with memory, have poor eyesight or are hearing impaired, consider talking to your family or caregiver about concerns regarding your medication routine. Your health and safety are our #1 priority at Collinwood senior living community, and our Wellness Services offer residents plenty of resources to ensure medical needs are met.
Be honest with your family or caregiver about your worries and come up with an effective plan to address your concerns. Taking your medication as prescribed is important, and if you have ongoing issues regarding your medications, consult a medical professional for suggestions.