Automatic Medication Dispenser: Would It Benefit Your Loved One?

By Eunice K. Neubauer, CSA

Automatic Medicine Dispenser Information Twin Cities MNA client of mine recently conducted her own research on automatic medication dispensers.  When I started my business over 8 years ago there were few on the market and awareness was low for these devices.  Today there are more options and improved devices coming out throughout the year.   Today there are machines that text or call you when a dose is missed.   It is necessary to have someone fill the machine weekly or monthly depending on how many pills the machine is dispensing.  Medications may be what helps a person maintain their independence longer so they are important.  And these machines can help keep care costs lower whether at home or in an assisted living facility vs hiring a caregiver to provide medication reminders.

Some things to be sure to consider when purchasing a machine:

  • Ease of use – are the trays the right size for your number of meds but also to access the pills. Some machines are heavier than others and the displays vary in size and clarity. How easy is it to set up?
  • Alarms – is the alarm loud enough for someone that is hard of hearing? There are machines that light up as well.
  • Lock – how strong is the locking system. Some are better than others.
  • Back up – If electrical, does it have a back-up if the power goes off?
  • Compliance monitoring-how do you know if a dosage is missed? Will it call or text you?  Will the tray lock and close so you can see how many are missed if there is no alert at time of dispensing?

With machines dispensing medications there is still no guarantee that the pills are being taken.   A person needs to understand what it means when the alarm goes off or light blinks.  They need to adjust to this and it may take some getting used to.   Also, if the pills are gone, were they truly swallowed or hidden or thrown away.  Where a person is with cognition in their disease journey will impact the success rate.  Starting the process earlier in the disease would have its benefits so a routine is established.    There are various price points for these machines.  Check out Amazon for options. When I called the Alzheimer’s organization to see if they had a recommended list, they referred me to Amazon or to www.alzstore.com

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