Ideas on How to Safely Organize and Store Pills for Seniors

“To help me stay organized, I typed up double-sided daily medication chart sheets. Each one has the date on the top, the pill names are listed along the top row, and meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are listed down the side. I placed a big check mark in the appropriate grid square for when a particular pill was scheduled to be taken, and Mom would circle it after she took it.” –MsMadge

“One of my siblings or I will call Mother every morning to tell her to take her morning pills. We use the same method for her evening eye drops and bedtime insulin. Most times that works. I also taped a calendar to the table near the pill box and tell her to ‘X’ out the day after we speak at night. This has helped, too.” –pgscott

“My father-in-law spent his last years with us, and I would get a bunch of small manila envelopes, label them AM or PM, and give him one day’s worth of medication at a time. It was much less intimidating than a pillbox! You can make a morning card and a night card and list the meds and what they’re for. Put them in a sealed envelope clipped to the card and leave night and morning envelopes with no other ones in reach.” –partsmom

“My mother-in-law refuses to use the pill box setup and I have bought and returned 5 different ones. So, I gave her a white basket for morning pills, a black basket for evening pills, and a yellow basket for twice-a-day pills. I also bought her a shot glass with ‘Oma’s Meds’ custom inscribed on it. She has a routine after breakfast and after dinner to fill the shot glass with her medication and take them with a big glass of water. She has dementia, but she is regimented. Her prescriptions are always visible.” –Lovestinks

“Start with the pill cases that you can buy at CVS. Buy two, one for night and one for day in two different colors. They have slots for each day of the week.” –Llamalover47

“I would load a seven-day pill box for my mom each week. That way all she had to do was pop a compartment for morning, noon, afternoon and evening.”–pamstegma

“Once a week, I separate my dad’s medications into easy-open zip lock bags labeled Monday morning, Monday afternoon, Monday night and so on. I keep the actual prescription bottles in a special bag with me, which prevents any chance of overdose or ‘self-help.’ He likes not having to worry about refilling each one at the pharmacy. That’s all my job, and it’s worth it to know that he is taking all that he is supposed to and that’s it.” –sagebush99

“When my mom simply had ‘mild cognitive decline,’ I was able to get her three pill boxes, yellow for morning, green for noon and blue for evening. I sorted her pills into these boxes once a week and she wrote down on a sheet of paper when she took each set of pills.” –BarbBrooklyn

“Some pharmacies are now offering an Rx bottle with a clock on top. That is one way to know when the elder has gotten into it last.” –Llamalover47

“If your loved one is forgetting to take their prescriptions, the best method I’m aware of is the companies that deliver blister packs, packets or other types of containers with all meds pre-organized and combined for the correct times—breakfast, before dinner, bedtime etc. It’s not a terribly expensive service.” –Windyridge

Secure Storage Options for Medications

In some cases, family caregivers must securely store medications to prevent aging loved ones from accidentally overdosing. Additional security measures are also wise to prevent medications from being misplaced or stolen by other family members or hired caregivers.

“Ideally, you should get a lock box that is securely attached to or built into the wall, with keys. Any locksmith can help you with the right size box. Only you will have the key. Combinations can be orally shared or even forgotten.” –pamstegma

“Sometimes you can simply find a cabinet in the home and put a lock on it. That will not keep out burglars if they are looking for drugs and know where they are, but it’ll discourage a newly hired in-home caregiver who you may not trust yet.” –Ibeenscammed

“Use an old metal file cabinet with a lock on the top. If needed, get a welder to attach a padlock latch to the side and a TSA lock should suffice. We also put a padlock on the crisper drawer in the fridge for medication that needed to be refrigerated.” –ruthieruth

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