It seems to be a general rule anymore that the number of pills a person takes in a day increases exponentially per year after a certain age. You start with one pill a day for your blood pressure, and before you know it, you’re taking an ACE inhibitor, a stating for your cholesterol, a blood thinner, a water pill, ibuprofen for arthritis, and calcium to combat osteoporosis. And then the side effects start, and you get put on three more medications to combat the inevitable dizziness and nausea.
But it’s not the medicine making you feel off balance, it’s the thought of having to keep track of all of those pills every day. What can you do? Here are a few simple tips:
First, you can try pill boxes. Everyone has seen the little plastic boxes with the days of the week stamped into the lid, but most of us underestimate just how helpful they can be. You can get them for free or close to it at any pharmacy or doctor’s office. And they’ve gotten a bit more sophisticated as well. Now you can get them in a 7 by 4 grid which allows you to divide your pills by day and by breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime.
And don’t be afraid to ask your pharmacist to fill your pill boxes for you. They understand that such small pills can be hard to handle, and most are happy to do it for you!
More and more, pharmacies are offering blister packing as a service for patients on several medications. Rather than picking up half a dozen pill bottles, your pharmacist can divide up your pills by day and time and put them in convenient, easily portable, disposable blister packs. Just pop out the corresponding plastic bubble marked for the right day and time, and you’ll be all set.
Ask your pharmacy if they offer blister packing as a service. Community clinics and physician offices may offer it as well.
Every time you visit your doctor or pharmacy, take a list of questions. You are more likely to take a pill if you know exactly what it is for. Make sure you know what side effects to expect. And even though you should always try to comply with all medication orders, be sure to ask which medications will cause major problems if you miss a dose. Then you’ll know which pills you should always carry with you in case you get caught up away from home unexpectedly.
Your health is going to get more complicated as you age. That is a guarantee. New medications are constantly being developed, but new techniques for delivering and organizing them like blister packing daily doses are constantly being perfected as well. And if all else fails, be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist. They are there to help. If the management of medications ever becomes too complex to handle on your own, there are a wide variety of in-home care and assistance options available like those offered by True Freedom Plans.