I’ve found the whole issue of medicines to be hotly controversial.  Most people dislike having to take medicine and those feelings only increase the older they get, the more medicines they have to take, and the more complicated the medicine regime.  With our diabetic in-laws now living with us, we’ve had to attack the issue head-on.


FIL Gene has daily insulin shots plus a weekly med, a monthly med, morning meds, evening meds, and meds he has to take ½ hour and 1 hour prior to eating, twice a day.  **How can ANYONE keep all that straight, let alone someone who is bordering on dementia?!

Shortly after their moving in, we suspected that Gene, a normally very organized man who has always been in good control of all of his own medications as well as Nola’s….was not taking his medicines exactly correctly.  He felt he “didn’t need” them all…so skipped occasionally, forgot occasionally, etc. and often couldn’t remember if he’d taken something or not.  Then there was the diarrhea medicine he mistakenly took each week, thinking it was his osteoporosis medicine….!!

I decided to step in and take over the medicine.  I started by purchasing TWO large am/pm pill-minders and then added another blue pill minder.  Now his “before eating” meds are in the blue pill minder.  He knows to take them immediately when he gets up and Nola’s cell phone has an alarm at 5:30 p.m. to remind him to take the evening “prior to eating” ones.

There is another cell phone reminder for the mid-afternoon eye drops.

Additionally, there are colored stickers on their wall calendar as reminders  for the weekly and monthly meds.

Having TWO  am/pm pill minders allows me to count out two weeks at a time, for convenience.  The second one is always tucked away with the pill bottles, so they aren’t used until the proper week.

Nola helps him to remember to take the am’s and the pm’s at the appropriate times.  We’ve even put Tylenol in the pill minders, as he was always complaining about back pain, but never taking Tylenol unless it was handed to him. Now, it is part of his daily regime and we hardly EVER hear complaints of pain.

All of his medicine was kept haphazardly in one shoe box and hers is in a different shoe box.  Now, there are Ziploc bags;  one for the bottles for the blue pill minder, one for the am meds, and one for the pm meds.  That way, I don’t have to go through each bottle and analyze when they are administered, but can easily double check as I go along.  The pharmacist is also coordinating all the medications from all the different suppliers so they will now all come from one pharmacy, automatically refilled when necessary.

It is REMARKABLE what a difference this has made in his overall health (obviously he needs the medicine to be taken correctly and his overall health and even his mind was being affected by it not being taken correctly).  It has also eased Nola’s stress …it was way too much for her to try to keep track of his medicines and she was literally freaking out about it.

One more thing…Gene was finally prescribed anti-depressants and within a week of starting, along with the new and correct regime of his other meds….he is back to his old self!  Nola is thrilled beyond words that “she has Gene back”…he has been reborn!  He is alive again; laughs and talks, listens and participates in conversations again, is awake much of the day, and is pleasant to be around, not negative like he was.  He is Nola’s partner again….she is no longer alone!  What an amazing miracle are modern day medicines….when taken properly!