Medication tracking system
December 2, 2009 8:31 AM   Subscribe

What's the best pill tracking system for two married people over 70, one of whom is definitely getting forgetful?

One takes three pills per day, and the other takes 11, mostly in the morning, but some at other times. I'm looking for a system to help them remember to always take them.

I know there are many containers that have days/built-in calendars etc, but I'm looking for any specific recommendations for people who've used these. I imagine to some extent that what works for you might not work for someone else, but let me know anyway.

Not worried about travel situations, just for when they're at home.

Computer/mobile phone/PDA solutions will not work as they don't have any of those things. Electronic systems could work.

Must be available for purchase or order in the US or Canada
posted by lockedroomguy to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, I'm no user myself, but at least where I live, Dosett boxes are pretty much the default choice for this. The design has been around forever, they've been subject to numerous clinical studies, and I've never heard any user complain about them (beyond complaining about all the pills they have to take, that is). YMMV, as usual.
posted by effbot at 8:50 AM on December 2, 2009

Have you looked into getting the medication pre packaged at the pharmacy? I take 5 medications split up oddly throughout the day and my pharmacy lays them out and even splits some pills and puts them in a bubble package with the day and the time of day listed. All for free. Back when I was taking 11 medications this was the only system that worked for me.
posted by beautifulcheese at 9:45 AM on December 2, 2009

beautifulcheese, I wish I'd known to ask for that in the 90's.

When my mother was taking lots of pills* at different times of day, I printed out a spreadsheet. On the side, all the medicines. On the top, all the various necessary times of day (including "breakfast," "lunch," "dinner" for the ones that had to be taken with food). Then a simple X where the times and meds intersected. When a pill was taken, the time was written next to the X, so it was easy to account for lateness, etc.

Simple, but it could be understood at a glance, and can easily be made in large type, in necessary. One sheet per day. You could keep it in a three-ring binder so it doesn't get lost.

*One of them was prescribed for 40 mgs four times a day, but her insurance only covered the 10mg ones. Sixteen pills in one day, just for that one med. The pill bottle was probably the size of a can of Red Bull.
posted by bentley at 10:07 AM on December 2, 2009

DosettĀ® makes life easier: You need not be old and senile to ask yourself whether or not you took your tablet. It is enough to have a lot on your mind. It is enough to be an astronaut!

Wha . . .?
posted by HotToddy at 10:24 AM on December 2, 2009

We lay out a week's worth of pills for my auntie (who is a little demented) in two of those plastic boxes with seven compartments and the day of the week printed on each compartment - you can get them at any pharmacy. One box is red and one is blue; the red one is for morning and the blue one is for evening. Using a box with more compartments - two or more for each day, like those Dosett boxes linked upthread - confused her. Every Sunday we refill the whole week AND she gets two phone calls a day to remind her to take her meds. This system seems to be working okay.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:31 AM on December 2, 2009

Wha . . .?

A reference to this, I assume: "DosettĀ® has been used in the world's smallest clinical trial, carried out onboard the Russian space station MIR. Its objective was to investigate the influence of vitamin K on brittleness of the bones. The patient population consisted of one person."
posted by effbot at 11:25 AM on December 2, 2009

We used a Webster pack for my grandmother. The pharmacist put it together every week, for a small additional charge. And he delivered it to her also.see here If webster packs are unique to Australia and you're not here, ask your local pharmacy what the equivalent is.

Keep an eye on the forgetful one. In case s/he has a tiny bit of early dementia. We had few symptoms with my grandmother that something was going wrong... other than the fact that she couldn't turn the webster pack over and work out which pills to punch out. When we numbered the little pouches.. there was no problem.

Best of luck. Once you've got this kind of system (nursing homes and some hospitals use them) sorted out, it will be a WHOLE lot less stressful for everyone.
posted by taff at 2:44 PM on December 2, 2009

My Mom used something like this: The 7 Pack pill organizer. She had some memory problems, but nothing too severe.
posted by jeri at 12:27 AM on December 16, 2009

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