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Senior Health Tips: The Dangers of Pill Organizers

One Week Pill Box
For more senior health tips on medication management, call CareFor.

The average senior takes as many as 15-18 different prescriptions every day, so it’s no wonder that so many older adults end up missing doses or taking incorrect doses of their medications. And there are serious health problems that can result from these medication errors. A common senior health tip is the recommendation of a pill organizer to help seniors take doses correctly and on time: such a simple concept to just put the right medications into the right little boxes every day. Problem solved, right?

Astonishingly, however, medication management research points to a much different scenario. Seniors who are used to taking medications directly from the original packaging who switched to using a pill organizer were overwhelmed with health problems, such as falls, hypoglycemia, and in one instance, a senior could not get out of the bathtub until rescued a full 12 hours later.

The study involved 29 seniors over age 75 who had not been using pill organizers and were, inadvertently, not taking their medications as directed by their doctors. For eight weeks, half of the participants in the study began using a pill organizer, while the other half continued taking their meds as they always had.

The health problems, startlingly, were discovered only in those who had started to use the pill organizers. The thinking behind these results stems from the idea that the older adults were missing doses or taking their medications incorrectly before using the pill organizer, and were then experiencing negative effects from taking the appropriate doses of their medications.

Lead researcher, Dr. Debi Bhattacharya, highlights the need for those who are planning to switch to a pill organizer to first check with their physician or pharmacist to verify dosage amounts. And she further explains, “People who are already using a pill organizer without any ill effects should not stop using it as they do seem to help some patients take their medication as prescribed. It’s the switching stage which appears to be the danger.”

CareFor, providers of Austin caregiving services in the surrounding area, offers dependable medication management support for seniors as part of our home care services, with reminders to take medications exactly when and how they’re prescribed, to ensure they remain as healthy and safe as possible. Contact us at (512) 338-4533 to learn more about our services or for more senior health tips. For more details on all of the areas we serve in Texas, please visit our Service Area page.

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