Pills, Pills, Pills, Managing Multiple Medications
Managing lots of pills at different times of day is a pain! Hospitals set up systems to give the right medicine, at the right time, to the right person. At home, what to do?. With two elders on multiple medications I needed a plan.
Mom takes medication five times a day. Dad takes pills four times a day. I tried different reminders, like signs. In the middle of fixing dinner I realize, “Oh, it’s time for Mom’s warfarin”, then a pot boils over and it goes straight out of my head. I put a big sign on the refrigerator “Give Coumadin @ 5:00” but soon, I stopped seeing it, it became part of the kitchen landscape. An alarm on my phone works better for me.
Other med times are with meals and bedtime—much easier. We changed Dad’s Parkinson pill times to keep him comfortable. The medication schedule was a dose with meals and at bedtime. Their bedtime is at 9:30-10:00 PM. Their breakfast time keeps getting later. Showers and dressing used to take 30 minutes tops. Now it takes Dad 30-60 minutes just to shave. By the time they’re both bathed and dressed it’s an 11:00 AM breakfast and they won’t take their pills until they’ve finished. 9:30 PM to 11:00 AM (or 11:30 by the time they’ve finished breakfast) was too long between doses. Dad woke up in the night, miserably shaking and unable to sleep. He didn’t want to take his pills before breakfast, and no, he didn’t want to take them with a few crackers. He knows one of his bottles says, “take with food”. I can’t convince him that a small snack is “food”. Our compromise is, I skip his dinner dose, give him a dose at 9:30 and leave a glass of water and another dose beside his bed. He takes it when he gets up in the night to go to the bathroom. . Don’t ask me why it’s okay to take without food in the middle of the night. The goal is accomplished, and that particular medication doesn’t bother his stomach. He sleeps better now.
Between both parents they take 29 different kinds of medications a day, some once, some four times a day. If I got a dose out of the bottle as needed, it would take all day. Thank goodness someone invented medisets. They look like this photo. You can actually buy them with alarms.
I have one for my dad and two for my mom. She needs an extra one because she takes medications five times a day. I’ve never found one larger than one for four times a day. You can buy them at any drug store or here:https://www.amazon.com/Ezy-Dose-One-Day-At-Planner-Pop-Outs/dp/B001CDZPN6/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_121_tr_t_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=V63PMTHKC4BWGXQ3X2EB
The local pharmacy reaches out to the sick and elderly in the community. Gotta love a small town! They’ve offered pre-filled packets on a roll. The roll pulls out of a big box. You pull off a packet for each dose. I don’t use it. I think it’s because I’m too much of a control freak. Plus, if a medication or dose changes, what do you do with that big roll? I think it’s great for elderly on their own, though, and I applaud their efforts. Gotta run—I have medisets to fill!
How do you manage medications at your house? Do you have tips or ideas to share with us?