America's #1 Smart Pill Reminder with Lite-Box technology
My hubby won't even try to use the new telephone we have, with a button to turn it on and one to turn it off.He prefers the old one...also the same sort of buttons,but he is adamant about not using the new one. He has only morning and night pills but I can't trust him to take them if I left them out for him. He has to have me to remind him. Now, he has to take eye drops, one kind is 5 times a day and one is 3. There are 3 times when the two drops are taken at the same time. He is always surprised that it is time for drops, questions why he has to take two, or only has to take one, each time...and at times, says he has had enough, he needs no more. He will not even listen to me when I remind him the eye dr. said don't go into sunlight without sun glasses....he just goes out in the bright sun and reads... Pills and drops can be a pain for caregivers...also following some sort of so called "orders." Charlotte
Even in cases of mild or early dementia, it's common to have poor prospective memory -- that is, memory for events in the future -- like taking medication or keeping appointments. It's also hard to form new habits, whereas longtime pill-taking routines may be easier to remember and maintain.
A multidimensional approach is often needed. One step may be to set up a pillbox in which you can put a week's worth of pills sorted by day, for example. If you're not available to do it, have a home health care worker who can come into the home regularly take responsibility.
See whether your dad can keep up with his medication regimen by checking the pillbox every day. If that's not enough of a reminder, you might look into some kind of system that uses the phone or computer. For example, caregivertech.com offers software that uses the computer's internal clock to remind the person to take a pill. When the person takes it, he presses a key to confirm that it's been done. There are also Internet video systems available that let you verify whether someone is taking medication.
At the Mayo Clinic, we teach a calendar, or journaling, system over a six-week period to help people keep track of dates and things to do. In between sessions with us, a study partner -- a spouse, an adult child, or someone else -- cues the person at home, reminding him to carry and use the calendar. The person is prompted every day: "Do you have your calendar?" "Do you have your journal?" "That's an appointment. Did you write it in your calendar?"
The idea is to get the patient to overlearn the system so he can do it automatically. At the end of six weeks, 90 percent of people are able to use the system, and it helps carry them further into the illness functioning independently than they might have been able to do on their own. You can ask at an area medical center for aging whether this kind of resource is available near you.
When a parent can no longer take care of himself in this way -- keeping track of medications and appointments -- it may be time for assisted living or a move to a situation in which the environment is structured to help with these things.
My mother-in-law has a pillbox that can hold a week's worth of medication and has three separate compartments for each day (morning, noon and night dosages). We have programmed her cell phone to sound an alarm three times a day. When she opens the phone after the alarm sounds, there is a message that pops up reminding her to take her medication. She has to manually shut it off. We keep her cell phone attached to the charger in the same place on the kitchen counter. Thankfully this has worked for us.