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Developing an Organized Medication System at Home
No matter what system is chosen,
proper storage of medications is essential. Keep
medicines stored in a cool, dry area away from moisture
or heat. The kitchen cabinets often serve as a favorite
place to keep medicines. Be sure that the cabinets
chosen aren’t subject to the moisture or heat changes
near refrigerators, dishwasher steam, or even steam from
the kitchen sink. The holds true for bathroom cabinets
Also, keep medications in their original container until
they are ready to be administered or placed into a pill
organizer. It is okay to make notes on the bottle with a
black marker, such as a Sharpie®, to make instructions
more clear for your loved one or other caregivers. When
moving medicines into a pill organizer, make sure not to
take out more than one week’s worth.
The Canadian National Institute for
the Blind recommends some of the following methods when
considering a system to organize medications:
Using a pill organizer with one or
more sections for each day. If your loved one is
taking multiple medications, it may be best to
associate these with a meal or event rather than a
particular time of the day. You can “re-label” the
time slots with the event to make it more
There are electronic pill
organizers which can dispense medications on a set
schedule. Some of these only have beepers or other
reminders to let individuals know when medications
need to be dispensed. Others can dispense
medications on a pre-programmed schedule. The only
caution with these is the programming and being
certain that the device helps in your particular
environment. The elderly may or may not be receptive
to their use.
Organizing medication on one shelf
alphabetically or according to their frequency of
use. If you choose this method, be sure that your
loved one can read the labels on the bottle and that
they are able to open the bottles without help.
Also, you may need to set reminders to let them know
when it is time to take each dose.
Using personal markers or even
colors on the top of the bottle so each medication
can be readily identified. Blind persons can even
put Braille wording on the top of the cap to make
sure that each medication is taken accurately.
Changing pill bottle shapes or
sizes to differentiate between medications.
Also, putting rubber bands on the
bottle to indicate how many doses need to be taken
each day. Each time a dosage is taken, remove a
rubber band and at the end of the day, replace them.