On average, a senior takes between 15-18 different prescriptions each and every day, so one can understand how easy it can be to miss a pill here and there or take an incorrect dosage. However, the health hazards that happen because of those medication mistakes are substantial. Enter the pill reminder box: such a simple concept of placing the correct meds into the appropriate little boxes each day. Problem resolved, right?
Startlingly, research recently points to a considerably different outcome. Mature adults accustomed to taking medications directly from the original packaging who switched to a pill reminder box were inundated with medical concerns, including falls, hypoglycemia, and in one case, a person unable to get out of the bathtub until a rescue 12 hours later.
The research involved 29 older persons over age 75 who were not using pill reminder boxes and were, inadvertently, not taking their prescriptions as directed by their physicians. For two months, half of the seniors began using a pill reminder box, while the other half continued taking their prescriptions as they always had.
The health concerns, surprisingly, were realized only in the seniors who had just started to use the pill reminder boxes. The theory behind these unexpected results comes from the thought that the seniors were skipping doses or taking their prescriptions incorrectly prior to using the pill reminder box, and were suffering from side effects from taking full doses of their drugs.
Lead researcher Dr. Debi Bhattacharya stresses the need for those planning to change to a pill reminder/organizer system to first seek advice from their physician or pharmacist to verify dosage amounts. And she makes clear, “People who are already using a pill organizer without any ill effects should not stop using it as they do seem to help some patients take their medication as prescribed. It’s the switching stage which appears to be the danger.”
Home Matters can assist with medication reminders to ensure aging adults take prescriptions when they’re supposed to, assist with transportation to pick up prescriptions, and assist with noting any medication side effects that should be reported to the physician immediately. Contact Home Matters for important assistance with keeping your senior loved one safe and healthy.