How do you manage giving multiple medications to both your parents?

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A pharmacy in Youngsville, LA (Ackal's Community Pharmacy) has a program where they package all medications by doses in sealed cups in a color coded calendar.. We have my Grandparents medication filled this way. Its a pill cup, on a calendar, by color (time of Day). We love it... Hope this helps
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The electronic dosage tray sounds wonderful if you can afford it. I think the most popular item is the plastic dosage tray that comes with anywhere from 7 to 28 cubes, depending on the frequency needed. Because my Uncle is visually impaired, and my Mother was in dementia, I told them both to leave the cover of each cube OPEN after taking each dose, so they would know which was the next cube to take. This is still working fine for my Uncle, but Mom is now in the NH so it's moot point for her now.
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I have found the blister packs very helpful, as they can be set up once
for the entire month. I did have three packs to set up; one for my father
who took all his meds in the morning; one for my mother's morning meds;
one for my mother's evening meds. The HHA "helps" my mother
with her meds, as my mother has moderate Alzheimers and cannot
be trusted to remember the day or the time of day. The monthly
bubble packs come with each bubble labeled with the date of the month;
I found that I could improve on that by also marking the day of the
week on the paper side of the bubble using a felt-tip marker
(before assembling the pack, and laying the paper layer on a
hard surface to avoid poking a hole with the marker).
One place where the bubble packs can be ordered
via the internet is Medical
supply stores usually don't carry them, and if they did
they would charge twice what the online store charges.
Not all pharmacies will bubble-pack the meds
for you, so you'd need to buy and assemble the packs
yourself for your folks. One advantage to doing this
yourself, is that you can usually fit up to 9 pills in
each bubble, allowing you to pack the prescription
pills along with over-the-counter pills, such as
vitamins or baby-aspirin. If you do decide to
use the bubble packs, it's a good idea to check
with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure of
which meds can be given together and which
should be scheduled to be taken at different
times of day. Also some meds can be taken
with food and some must not.
I found that it is easiest for HHAs to have
the meds in a blister-pack or structured medicine
box, so that they are less likely to make mistakes.
It is also helpful for a parent who is not mentally
impaired, but may have difficulty keeping track
of multiple meds in multiple bottles, or for
people with arthritic hands - it is much easier
to pop meds out of a bubble than to open
those medicine bottles.
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However, I do want to add, as a previous commenter said correctly, the HHA by law is not to directly dispense the medications. You may organize them for the aide or your pharmacy may blister pack the medications. The HHA is there to provide the medication reminder. When your parent has memory problems, you can count on the aide for accurate information regarding whether or not the medication was taken.
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As an adult child, your life may become to busy to consistently set-up medications for your parents. Pill boxes/medication dispensers are a good idea only when memory problems are not present. It is important to avoid the accidental overdose. If your parent has the available funds, I suggest having a home health care aid for a.m. and p.m. care and have the aid help with the medication management. Medications can be kept in a locked box and the aid should record time medications are given and any happenings during their visit. Some Home Health companies can provide aides for as little as 2 hour blocks.
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Thank you all for the great feedback, support! Thanks to this forum I now have a great solution.
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I used an automated medication dispenser recommended by my Area Agency on Aging. I could fill a full month's supply of mom's medication into the machine. It announced "time for your medication" and she would press a button to get the pre-loaded cup of meds. If she didn't press the button the machine called me to report the missed dose. The best part is the machine called me when it was time to reload. This was a perfect solution for my family.
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My sis and I decided to put them out each day. usually one of us is there for one of the medication times, but we just put them out for when we are not and then call her when she is suppose to take them.
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You can ask your pharmacy about having the meds put in bubble packs. These have the day of the week and date and the names of the meds printed on the back of each bubble in the pack. You, or they, can push the meds out for each day. I care for my mother full time and find this way of doing it to be very convenient. I have her meds delivered once a month and all I have to do is switch out the empty bubble pack from the plastic housing and put in the new pack. I don't have to count or figure out if a day has been missed. My mother was having this done before I came to stay with her so I just kept it that way. I think many elderly folks find this way to be easier also.
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When my MIL was here at home, she had meds to take brkfst, lunch, dinner & bdtme. I set up 2 wks. worth of meds and either my husband, youngest SIL, DPOA SIL, HHA or I would give them to her. Since the HHA's can't touch the medicines--I provided little shot glasses with her meds in them. She took the meds out of the shot glasses and drank a separate glass of water. I was afraid of her o/ding as well. Hope this helps! Oh, BTW, HHA stands for Home Health Aide and DPOA stands for Durable Power of Attorney.
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