Help keep my FIL's medication straight!
July 20, 2010 5:01 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a digital medication reminder with text for my 72 y/o father-in-law that is not an iPhone app. Dream product described inside.

My father-in-law has advanced cancer and is on approximately 18 medications. He's basically taking something every two or three hours, but not always the same thing, and some of it is optional (he's allowed to supplement his pain meds at certain intervals if needed).

What would be perfect is some kind of pager with LCD that we could program to sound an alarm and display the names of the medications to be taken. Preferably with a snooze function.

The in-laws are intimidated by technology--it is extremely unlikely we'll be able to get them to use an iPhone or iPod touch, or any kind of email/text reminder. But a pager, I think we could work with.

Does such a thing exist?
posted by thinkingwoman to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think a Timex Ironman Data Link watch could easily be programmed to do all that.

It is a watch though, so the screen size might be an issue, YMMV.
posted by Theloupgarou at 5:08 PM on July 20, 2010

Would it be possible to set up several alarms in the Clock app? You could name each alarm the list of medications he needs to take at that time. The downside is that it would take some time entering in all the data.
posted by cabbages at 5:22 PM on July 20, 2010

On second read, I missed the "NOT" in "not an iphone app." Please excuse me.
posted by cabbages at 5:23 PM on July 20, 2010

for what it's worth, i just googled "alarm pill dispenser" and there are all kinds of varieties/models/functions that seem to hit all of the high points you've asked for. wristwatches that display the pill name when the alarm goes off, pill dispensers that make a noise AND dispense the appropriate pill, desktop clocks that do it... there are lots of options. you guys should be able to pick out exactly which one will meet their needs best. this is a common problem, so lots of solutions are available.
posted by radiosilents at 5:26 PM on July 20, 2010

If you've not considered a spreadsheet, updated as needed, and printed daily and kept by the medicine bottles/boxes you might want to look into it.

Pen and paper have a lot of advantages -- instantaneous visualization of the day, better context on previous and upcoming meds, PLUS by acting as an ongoing reference of everything he has taken, on what timeline, and with what changes he can take the sheets on each doctors visit for reference. With that many meds the doctor isn't able to keep track of them mentally either.

18 meds and being intimidated by technology is not a situation I'd try to apply technology to.
posted by devbrain at 5:33 PM on July 20, 2010

Response by poster: spreadsheets/written lists haven't worked well...he's already been hospitalized once because of a medication mixup. really what we want to do is keep the schedule ourselves and call them to remind them, but that's a little rough on the dignity (and occasionally incompatible with work/commute schedules), so we're hoping we can find a digital option they feel comfortable with before we take a more drastic step.

@radiosilents, what was the watch that you found? we looked at several but none seemed to have the alarm with the pill name, but maybe we missed it. we've slogged through a lot of stuff.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:53 PM on July 20, 2010

The Sony Dash is like a fancy alarm clock, but you can program an unlimited number of alarms on it, each with their own names. If you set it up, it would operate basically like a clock radio from their perspective.

I got one about three weeks ago and really like it.
posted by rw at 5:58 PM on July 20, 2010

Oh. I should mention, the SONY Dash requires wireless. It totally meets all your other requirements.

You could name the alarms after the meds and you can customize the snooze length for each alarm.
posted by rw at 6:03 PM on July 20, 2010

Best answer: thinkingwoman : the watch model i was talking about

it allows 12 daily alarms with text messages! it sadly does NOT vibrate.
posted by radiosilents at 6:06 PM on July 20, 2010

I don't know what it was called, but my friend's grandparents had a machine that reminded them to take medicine and I think did other health related things. I believe it was connected to a phone line and sent data to a service or maybe their doctor to inform them when they hadn't been taking their meds/telling the machine they had. You should ask your FIL's doctor. If they have a lot of elderly patients, they should be familiar with whatever this thing was called.
posted by ishotjr at 6:34 PM on July 20, 2010

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