Tips for Managing Medications


July 15, 2021

Remembering to take medications can be a problem for some older adults. There are some things you can do to help your care receiver remember their medications:

  • Explain why it is necessary to take the medication
  • Place larger, more legible labels on bottles
  • Make sure a readable clock is visible

Tips from other caregivers:

  • Draw a large clock and put color codes on it, if necessary
  • Create a chart and check-off system
  • Use a color coding system to distinguish different medications and different medication times
  • Post reminders and/or place medicines in visible locations

Understanding the abbreviations for medication timing can also be a problem. Here are the some common medication abbreviations:

  • BID 2 times per day
  • TID 3 times per day
  • QID 4 times per day
  • HS hour of sleep

Partner with a pharmacist to learn more about medications and their side effects. Plan ahead and have refills approved and filled before medications are gone. Check expiration dates periodically and throw out old medications. Also consider using a commercial drug divider (pill box) to portion out medications for each day or each medication time. 

The goal with drug therapy can be summarize as “The Five Rights”:

the right drug for
the right patient in
the right dose by
the right route at
the right time.

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