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Safely Managing Declining Seniors’ Medications

pills in a pill box

Safely Managing Declining Seniors’ Medications


Does mom or dad snap at you when you ask if they’ve taken their daily medication, or when you go through their prescriptions?

If your loved one is skipping pills, forgetting to take them, taking the wrong amount or combination, the outcome could mean unexpected medical consequences, or worse, an overdose.

It can be very frustrating for everyone as memory loss or early-stage dementia begins to affect critical areas of health, and autonomy begins to be lost. They need your help, and you need peace of mind.

You are not alone. Nearly nine out of 10 adults age 65 and older take a prescription medication, according to Kaiser Family Foundation statistics. And of these, more than half of these seniors are ingesting or self-administering four or more medications.

Polypharmacy Concerns

The term “polypharmacy” -the use of multiple medications – can increase the risk for dosage and scheduling mistakes, especially in loved ones with age-related memory loss or early dementia.

What can a family do if mom or dad refuses to allow someone else to help them with managing their medications?

Professional Oversight

In Georgia, a companion caregiver that visits their client in a home-based setting is not allowed to give your loved one their medication, but they can watch and ensure it has been taken and leave notes for you. This may not be ideal for some families whose elder members need greater oversight.

A Home-Based Alternative

Medication errors that can lead to death are most common in seniors over 75 years old and are due to not taking prescribed medicine or inadvertently taking the wrong one, according to a study published in Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy.

To avoid such a devastating event for loved ones who wish to remain in the place they call home, Angel Companions recommends using a medication storage container or a sealed prescription package to provide families greater peace of mind.

Many pharmacists now offer sealed pill packs labeled for the time and day they are to be taken. Other options include blister packs, also marked with scheduling information. We can help you locate a pharmacist near you to discuss what will fit your family’s unique needs.

In situations where prescriptions should be more greatly safeguarded, medication storage with a locking mechanism may be a better option.

A quick Internet search displays reasonably-priced and easy-to-use day and time pill organizers, which work well for prescriptions with complex schedules -but they are accessible to anyone. For seniors in cognitive decline or homes with children, we recommend containers with a locking mechanism, and perhaps a reminder timer. Schedule timers are an excellent option when more than one family member is involved to avoid the potential for double dosing.

Listed below are a few of our favorites; their images are in the image at the top of this blog post. Please don’t hesitate to call our office to speak with a case manager for any questions or concerns regarding best practices for a successful medication management program. We are committed to ensuring that your loved one -and you – feel safe and secure in that chosen place called home!

1. New MedQ Daily Pill Box Reminder with Flashing Light and Beeping Alarm

2. Vaultz Locking Medicine Box with Combination Lock

3. MedCenter Talking Alarm Clock

Have questions about senior medication management or how to best keep your loved one safe and secure as they age in place? Contact us here.

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