Introduction: Medication Organizer for Elderly Parents

About: I'm the guy in the back of the warehouse who fixes all the stuff that people break. Right around those shelves full of parts and newly broken things. Theater lighting is my day job.

Like many of us as we reach a certain age, we have elderly parents who are taking a dizzyingly large array of medications. I've been using those pill organizers that they sell at drugstores, but I find they are of sizes that are too large or too small, and the lids on the compartments wear out quickly leading to pills from the other days getting dumped onto the table and floor and then my mom has to crawl around on the floor to find the missing pills and figure out where they came from. Just not working very well. There are expensive computerized pill dispensers, but I don't have the spare cash to buy one of those.

I finally hit on a simple system that doesn't take up lots of room in the house and it really is pretty simple and convenient. You don't actually have to make anything, so I'm not sure it actually counts as an instructable.

So as you can see in the picture, dad is on a long list of meds, which he gets at different times of the day. Dad has alzhiemers, so he is unable to count out the pills and stuff himself. I took those plastic tubs that I get my takeout soup from the chinese restaurant in. I eat there a lot, so it was easy to accumulate the number I needed. You can use other similar stacking containers. Wash them out so all food residue is gone. You don't want these to attract bugs to crawl on the pills and contaminate them. I don't need the lids, since I want them to nest together with the pills.

Each day he gets pills at four different times. Take a fat magic marker and write on the inside bottom the times he should take the pills. For example, I have "morning" "lunch" "5pm" and "bedtime". If you are not living with your parents, make seven sets of these cups, and write the day of the week to each one so you can make up a weeks worth of pills. You can get fancy with color coding if you want.

Lay out the containers on the counter, along with the list of meds and all the various pill bottles. Distribute the pills into the appropriate containers. If you have things that are not pills, such as an asthma inhaler or whatever, I create a small card with large easy to read words that says in my case. "Two puffs from the inhaler". Then all the pill bottles and paperwork are put into a tin that once contained a fruitcake, where they will hibernate until the next time I need to prep his meds.

Once all the cups are ready, I stack them up, next dosage on the top, and put a blank container on the very top as a cover. They then are put on the counter where dad knows to look for them, and he takes the top one out as indicated, and takes the pills. He stacks the empties next to the fulls and is all done.

This solution works for me and my dad. It won't work forever, but it works for now. Be safe.

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