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The Case of The Talking Pill Bottle
New innovations are helping seniors to get the medications they need in a safe and effective manner.
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"I have to tell you one of the reasons I don't accept someone else's pills. A few years ago, my best friend died after years of battling a fatal illness. Since I spent so much time with her at her bedside, I saw her collect bottle after bottle of very strong narcotic painkillers, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, plus the same heart drugs I take myself. My friend keep getting them mixed up, putting white narcotic pills in with white blood pressure pills, green heart pills in with green tranquilizers, etc. When she refilled prescriptions, she put old pills in with the new ones. " "
  Related Resources
• Medication Safety
• Prescription Drug Costs
 From Other Guides
• How To Talk About Your Medications
• Tips For Taking Medications
 Elsewhere on the Web
• ScripTalk Press Release
• Medication Aides

Over the last few years there have been amazing breakthroughs in medications that have helped improve the health and longevity of seniors. All of these drugs however have two things in common. If you don't take the drug it will do you no good, and if you don't take it correctly it could either harm or kill you. Luckily human innovation, both high tech and low tech once again comes to the rescue and has provided us with some savvy ways of ensuring medications are taken correctly. Lets look at some of these innovations and some strategies I recommended to patients as a Case Manager.

It is always best to leave medications in their original containers. The pill bottle you pick up at the pharmacy has the prescribing information, the dosage and any precautions that may be needed. Additionally the pill container will have the doctor's name and the pharmacy name (good to know if you have questions or need a refill). Most states require childproof caps, which depending on the situation can turn into senior-proof caps. If you have difficulty opening childproof caps ask your pharmacist for an alternative. If you can't open the container, you won't be as likely to take the medication. Another safety factor is actually being able to take the correct medication. If you can't read the label you might do well to keep a magnifying glass with your medications. If the magnifying glass is not enough, there are some new solutions just around the corner. A technology that is being tested at a VA facility in Chicago will provide a talking label for medication containers. ScripTalkTMis a handheld device that will read the label information on prescription labels that have a specialty imbedded microchip. This type of technology will be of great help to those who are visually impaired.

Taking medication properly is as important as taking the correct medication. Set up a system for taking medications and organize those medications in a way that will make keeping on track with your medication dosages and schedules. Set aside a shelf in your kitchen (or any place in your home you spend a lot of time). Write out your medication schedule with times and dosages. Additionally write out a description of your medications, that includes shape, color, and any other distinguishing features. If you have a time when you are unsure of what medications you are taking or if someone else needs to help this will be useful.

Some people find it useful to use some type of daily or weekly pill organizer to keep track of their medications. These organizers are usually flip top containers that are marked with the day of the week, or the time of day the medications should be taken. Simple organizers (low-tech) are readily available and relatively inexpensive. There are some higher priced organizers that also have alarms (high-tech)that alert the person that it is time for a medication. The downside of these systems is that the medications are taken out of the original containers and there is more chance of mix-up. For a look at many of these you can check out the information from About's Headaches Guide medication organizers.

Medications don't work if they are not taken, so the best thing to do is find a system that works for you. A few dollers spent early on may be the difference between life and death. Previous Articles

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