It’s a dilemma many of us face: Do you remember to take your medications on time?
If you’re juggling multiple tablets, capsules, creams and ointments, it can be a real challenge. But there are a number of things you can do to keep yourself on schedule—and keep yourself feeling your best. Here are some ideas:
- The classic pill box. Everybody knows about this one, but it’s still something you have to train yourself to use. Get a pill box with compartments for each day of the week (some are even split for morning and afternoon). Pick a set time each week (an evening after your last dose of the day is a good time) to reload the box. Then just check your compartments. If your medication is mainly pills, then this can simplify life a lot.
- Bubble packs for prescriptions. Some pharmacies will package your medications in daily bubble packs, so when you pick up your script, it’s already set for every day of the month. There’s usually a small extra charge for this, but it can make it much easier to remember. And you won’t have the weekly chore of loading your pill box.
- Get into a routine with your meds. If you have set times during the day where you do other tasks, set times for taking your prescriptions. For example, take your meds right after breakfast (or, if the medication suggests you wait for a period of time after eating, take them at that time). If you’re doing the same thing every day, it gets easier to stay on track.
- Set alarms. If you have a smart phone, you can set alarms at different times each day to remind you about your medications. Or if you prefer to use an old fashioned alarm clock, that works just as well.
- Reminders at locations around your home. Post-It notes or a board on your refrigerator may be all the reminder you need. Or you might want one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom, depending on your medication schedule.
- Medical alert devices. There are products on the market specifically designed to remind you when to take your medications.
- Home care aides. If you use a home care aide for other tasks, the aide can also help remind you when to take medications.
- Stick with one pharmacy. It’s much easier to keep track of medications if they’re all picked up in one location and on a regular schedule for renewal. This also helps the pharmacist spot potentially dangerous drug interactions and warn you about them.
- Talk with your doctor. If you’re having trouble with a medication schedule, let your doctor know. He or she may be able to prescribe a different medication or different dose that’s easier for you to manage.