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Medication Reminders: Be Healthier, Happier and More Independent


Medication reminders come in many forms:

Medication reminders now come in many forms, shapes and sizes, and can be a fundamental aspect of care to help you maintain your medication routine, and to be healthier, improve your mood (depression, anxiety etc.) and maintain as high a level of independent functioning as possible. Medication reminders may be the perfect solution for baby boomers caring for aging parents or seniors caring for themselves and wanting to maintain independence. Also, medication reminders can be incredibly helpful for babysitters caring for a variety of children, family members caring for children with chronic illnesses, doctors and pharmacists caring for noncompliant patients, health care professionals in disease management programs, as well as assisting home health aides, visiting nurses and assisted living facilities. With the increased dispensing of medications in our society, the varied uses of medication reminders are probably too numerous to mention.


Various types of medication reminders:

Medication reminders come in many forms from a basic “medi-planner”, to much more complex alarm systems or even software for a Palm Pilot. Medi-planners are small plastic compartments in which medications are set up to be dispensed at various times, for a period of several days to possibly a week. They are probably the cheapest form of medication reminder, usually able to be purchased for less then $10-$15. Various other reminders are available which can become much more complex and expensive. We will review several models which will help to enhance your medication compliance:

There are various models of alarm and vibrating watches which are excellent to subtly alert you that it is time to take your medicine, without “telling the whole world“. Some of these “watch-like” medication reminders, appear to be a sports watch, and may either sound an alarm or vibrate to notify you when it is time for your medication. Some models were originally developed for children with diabetes to notify them and the school nurse that it was time for insulin injections, but may be used by virtually anyone.

Medication reminders also come in the form of fully automatic dispensers, in addition to alarm systems. Some of these devices dispense the medicine, reminding the user when medicine should be taken, and actually making the correct dose available. While these systems come in many forms, several of these devices have alarms that sound and then pills actually rotate into position. While making your current medications available, they make all other medicine inaccessible. These systems are ideal for maintaining medication compliance when individuals are on a complex medication schedule, or for those individuals who have difficulty with manual dexterity.

Pager size medication reminders are also available which fit into your purse, or may be worn on a belt. No reset is required and the alarm will go off at the same time every day. Some of these models also have a countdown timer and may be set for as many as 12 alarm times per day. Similar to the watch models, these may activate either a vibration or alarm sound to be used discreetly in various locations such as offices, churches or at the movies. These are also handy for the hearing and visually impaired.

One of the more interesting ways of providing a medication reminder, are some of the new “medication reminder applications”, or software to be utilized with a Palm hand-held computer. While they are obviously more complex to set up, they can also provide for a variety of schedules and functions.

There has never been a better time than now, to optimize your level of health, mood and  independence through the use of medication reminders, by providing maximum compliance to your medication routines.

By Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate (Health Psychology)

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