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How Can You Make Sure You Take Your Medicine As Directed?


Prescription medications can greatly improve your quality of life- but only if they’re taken as directed. Older adults are more likely than other age groups to be taking more than one prescription medication; A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 89% of older adults (age 65+) take at least one prescription and just over half (54%) take four or more prescription medications. Since they take so many medications, it creates unique issues when older adults don’t take their medications as prescribed. A 2023 study found that 1 in 5 older adults skipped taking their medication or took less than prescribed due to cost. Why else do older adults struggle to take their medications as prescribed and what can they do to remedy this situation?  


Why Do Older Adults Struggle with Taking Medication? 


Low Tech Options 


Higher Tech Options 

  • Upload your medication list to Google Docs or on the cloud so you can access it anywhere. 
  • See if you need a special pill bottle that beeps or counts down to your next dose or displays how long it’s been since the pill bottle was last open.  
  • Electronic medication dispensers keep your medication safely put away until it’s time to take it.  
  • Automatic medication dispensers can sort and dispense your medications for you. 
  • Phone apps can send you reminders when it’s time to take your medication and some even offer refill reminders. 
    • Make sure any app you use is HIPPA compliant. Medisafe is a free app for Apple and Android and has been around for a long time.  


Working With a Pharmacist 

  • Pharmacists can convert your prescription to blister packs, meaning that all your pills are pre-packaged into weekly or daily packets. This makes it easier to keep track of doses and outsource sorting your medications. Click here to read our blog post on blister packs, including participating local pharmacies. 
  • Most pharmacies do medication management, where they go over all your prescriptions with you while watching for negative interactions and medications you may no longer need.  
  • Talk with your pharmacist to see whether they can give you a pill bottle with an easy-open cap or larger print.  
  • Don’t be afraid to talk with your pharmacist about any questions you have about your medications, even if you’ve been taking that medication for a while.  
  • Experiencing negative side effects? Your pharmacist may have tips to help lessen side effects, such as taking medication with a meal.  
  • Need to cut down medical costs? Ask your pharmacist if there’s a generic version of your prescription.  
  • Issues with transportation? See if your medications can be delivered or ask for medication synchronization so you can pick up all your prescriptions in one trip.  
  • Click here to read our blog post on everything a pharmacist does. 


Saving Money on Medications & Medical Equipment 


Getting Rid of Old Prescriptions 

  • Disposing of medication that you no longer need simplifies your medication management and is a great way to make sure you don’t take it by accident.  
  • View our blog post here on safely disposing of medication.  

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