Whether you are a caregiver to an elderly person, a parent of a child with health issues, an individual that takes multiple vitamins and supplements to stay healthy, or a mother managing a household full of individuals with diverse conditions, you might find that administering pills can become almost a full-time job and you can consider the job a success if half the time the pills are not forgotten.
I’d like to share what I have done to simplify this process and increase consistency in the taking of meds and supplements for everyone in the home.
Here are some tools you might need for this process.
- Pill pouches (find them at your favorite pharmacy or Amazon)
- Boxes or containers that can be divided, such as “Like It Bricks” from The Container Store (but do not forget the dividers when buying these boxes – sold separately)
- Label maker (optional)
- Medium plastic bin or container (these Multi-Purpose bins works wonders)
Devote 45 minutes to this task on a weekly basis. Make it a commitment and place this activity on calendar!
When ready, follow these 10 easy steps:
- Place all meds/supplements that household members take regularly in the plastic bin or container. The container size will be determined by the amount of bottles and their sizes.
- Write the initial of each person’s name and dose along with the frequency. For example, “M 1-am/2-pm” indicates that for “M” takes one of those pills in the morning and two in the evening. Repeat this process with all bottles.
- With the label maker, label the boxes to be divided, with the names of the persons taking the meds/supplements. Assign 1 box to each person.
- Divide each person’s box according to the times this person takes meds/supplements throughout the day. For example, if “M” takes pills with breakfast, lunch, and before bed, “M” will need a box with three divisions. Label those sections accordingly for each box.
- To prepare meds/supplements for the next seven days, place seven empty bags on a table per person, per time of day the pills are taken. Most likely, each person will need seven bags for the morning pills and seven bags for the evening pills. If noon pills are required, lay out a third group of seven plastic bags. It is less confusing and prone to error if you work one person at a time, unless the meds/supplements are the same for everyone, in the same dosage and timing.
- Select all bottles pertaining to the first person. Start distributing the pills by placing them on top of the plastic bags, accordingly. The bags are closed, flat on the table at this time.
- When done with the first person’s pills, take each group of pills and place them inside the bag underneath the group. Close each bag.
- Place all morning pills in the morning partition of the box corresponding to the first person you are working with. Place all evening pills in the evening partition of the box. Repeat the process with any other group of pills this person takes. This will be the case if such person also takes some meds/supplements at noon, for example.
- Repeat the process for each additional person that needs meds/supplements.
- Do not forget to place the empty pill bag in the box to be reused the following week.
It is simpler to access that person’s box and take the corresponding pill pouch for the time of day than to have many bottles to sort and open, sometimes two or three of the same product, some almost empty.
When medicines and supplements for everyone in the home are in one single place it is easier to find what we need at the moment, what needs to be ordered, and when. This process also helps tremendously to increase the consistency in the taking of one’s medications and supplements.
Ingestible medicines and supplements are best kept in the kitchen, not in the bathroom. The humidity of the bathroom affects their power. It also makes sense to keep medication and supplements in the kitchen because we ingest these usually with water or another beverage. The optimal place for the pill pouch boxes and the bin with original product bottles is a section in the pantry or a cabinet in the kitchen.
Pro Tip: Things we apply to our skin, hair, teeth, or nails go in the bathroom. Included in this group are things like rubbing alcohol, H2O2, antibiotic creams, muscle pain patches, cotton, gauze, bandages, and the like.
I recently created a video explaining this pill management process. Watch it here: https://youtu.be/kmmZd2z9lpI