There are a number of different ways to support your medication routine from different aids to help you dispense your medication independently to automatic reminders to prompt you to take it.
Your local pharmacy is a great resource for professional help and advice on ways to support and manage your daily routine.
- Medication reminders
- Medication reminders for those living with dementia
- Medication review
- Tips for carers and administering medication on behalf of someone else
- Getting help in an emergency
- Emergency support at home
Using a simple white board or note next to your medication along with an alarm set to go off when required can be a useful reminder to take your medication.
Pill organisers, also known as dosset boxes, are reusable plastic boxes showing the days of the week. These are available in a range of sizes. You dispense your tablets into the boxes at the start of each week and this system can remind you to take your medication on the correct day. Some boxes have alarm reminders. You should check with your pharmacy to ensure that this is a suitable way to store your medication before purchasing a box system.
You can purchase these boxes online and on the high street.
If you take a large number of medicines you can ask your local pharmacist if they are able to provide your tablets in a weekly blister pack. Blister packs are a disposable plastic system which arranges your weekly medicines for you. At a glance you can see which pills to take, and when. Using a blister pack can help to reduce the risk of taking the wrong medication. If the pharmacy are able to do this you will need to ask your GP to do a weekly prescription.
Assistive technology devices can help remind you to take your medication. Your pharmacist may be able to suggest some options.
There are a range of different apps that can be downloaded onto smart devices which can assist you in both managing and remembering to take your medication. These devices have other functions that you may find useful. You can find information on these types of apps by searching the internet.
Voice devices, such as those used to control household equipment, are a popular option for reminding you to take your medication. They can verbally prompt you to take your medication, or remind a friend or family member to ‘drop in’ to help you in person. You can find out more about the wide range of cloud-based voice devices by searching online.
Medication management is especially important following a diagnosis of dementia. If you have been diagnosed with dementia and you take important medication on a daily basis such as insulin it is possible that you could forget to take this or take it incorrectly. You need to discuss this with your GP straight away so that the correct support can be arranged.
If you are having problems taking your medication or you are experiencing side effects, you can ask your local pharmacist to carry out a medication review.
The pharmacist will look at the medication you are taking to see if it can be changed to a more suitable medication. This may include having your medication in a different form, for example, if you have difficulty swallowing tablets you could receive your medication in liquid form or via patches. Your pharmacist can tell you what alternative medication is available.
There are a number of services your pharmacy can provide see the NHS What to expect from your pharmacy team pages for more information and advice.
Providing medication support for someone you care for can be stressful especially if the medication has been taken incorrectly in the past or the person you care for is refusing to take it. Visit the NHS website for more information.
Emergency identification devices which include pendants and bracelets can be set up to hold vital personal details and information on medical conditions. Next of kin contact telephone numbers can also be added to the device. They are designed to be worn whenever you go out, or carried in a purse or wallet. The details are useful if you have an accident or become confused or disorientated and require assistance.
You can order pendants or bracelets online, or from your local pharmacy or mobility shop.
The Message in a Bottle scheme is a simple initiative to encourage people to keep their personal and medical details in a common location such as the fridge. The ‘bottles’ are easily recognisable plastic containers.
Message in a Bottle helps emergency services save valuable time in identifying an individual very quickly and knowing if they have any allergies or take special medication.
The Message in a Bottle kit includes a form, where your personal and medical information is stored. This is placed in the distinctive bottle which is stored in the fridge. Two stickers are provided: one for the fridge door and the other to put inside your front door
Paramedics, police, fire-fighters and social services know to look in the fridge when they see the Message in a Bottle stickers.
The initiative provides peace of mind that appropriate medical assistance can be provided, and that next of kin or emergency contacts can be notified.
They are free of charge, and can usually be found in local chemists, doctors’ surgeries and your local Age UK.