Let’s Simplify Pill Management
Whether you are a caregiver to an older adult or a mom managing a family who values wellness, you might find that administering pills can become almost a full-time job. But here are 7 steps to ease your pill pain.
I want to share a system that can simplify pill management and increase consistency in taking meds and supplements for everyone. The secret is the pillbox!
What You Need
Here are some tools you might need for this process.
- Pillboxes with morning, noon, evening, and bedtime compartments that you can find at your favorite pharmacy or Amazon)
- Label maker (optional)
- Medium to large plastic bin or container (these Multi-Purpose bins work wonders, as well as my favorite plastic box ever created).
Devote 30 minutes to this task every week. Make it a commitment and calendar this activity!
- Place all prescribed and OTC meds and supplements that household members regularly take in the plastic bin or tote. The amount and size of pill bottles on hand determine the size of your container or box. This step only happens once because this bin will become the forever home of ingestible medicines and supplements at home. You may benefit from a second plastic container for all OTC medicines NOT taken regularly (like cough syrup, pain killers, allergy medicine, etc.)
- Write each person’s name (or initial) on each bottle lid. Include the intake frequency of that product. For example, “M 1-am/2-pm” indicates that person “M” takes one of those pills in the morning and two in the evening. Repeat this process with all bottles to make it easy to identify from the top inside the bin.
- Label each side of each pillbox with the person’s name taking the meds/supplements from that box. Assign a pillbox to each person taking any product regularly.
- Line all pillboxes on your counter or table and open their lids
- Select all bottles of one person and place in their pillbox all medication and supplements that person takes, according to the timing and dosage needed. Alternatively, you might prefer to work with one product at a time. In this case, distribute that medication into the pillboxes of everyone that takes that product.
- Repeat the process for each person or per product bottle (depending on your preferred method).
- Close all pillbox lids when each box is complete with all medications and supplements for that individual.
Where and Why
Ingestible medicines and supplements are best kept in the kitchen, not in the bathroom. The bathroom humidity affects the product’s power. It also makes sense to keep medication and supplements in the kitchen because we ingest these, usually with water or another beverage. The pantry or a cabinet in the kitchen are optimal places for these pillboxes and the container with bottles.
On the other hand, things we apply to our skin, hair, teeth, or nails go in the bathroom. This group includes things like rubbing alcohol, H2O2, antibiotic creams, muscle pain patches, cotton, gauze, bandages, and the like.
It is simpler to take medications and supplements when we do not need to sort the product, open several bottles, and make the same decisions over and over, several times per day. Therefore, it makes sense to streamline this process.
When medicines and supplements are in one single place, it is easier to find what we need at any given moment. This central location of meds and supplements also facilitates knowing what needs reordering and when. It also eliminates having multiple open bottles of the same product.
The best thing about this process is its inherent accountability – we can easily see who did not take their supplements or medicines and when just by looking at the pillbox. Thus, this system also increases the consistency in taking medications.
Make It Happen
Hopefully, these five steps described above will make it easier for everyone to take their meds and supplements consistently. But to make it happen:
- Devote 30 minutes to this task every week.
- Place this activity on the calendar as a recurrent, weekly activity.
- Make it a commitment.
Pro-Tip: Consolidate medicine when it arrives at your home. Usually, medication bottles come half empty. There is no reason to have several half-empty bottles of the same product, which takes a lot of space and leads to expired medication around the home.