If you take pills up to seven times a day, this Advanced Medication Reminder with VitaCarry ($30) is for you... especially if you need an alarm to remind you. The clock not only tells you what time it is, but what time your next medication is due, and it sounds an alarm and/or vibrates at the time. If you don't take the pill as advised, the reminder shows a missed pill (what a delinquent you are!) and sets up for the next one, keeping track of whether you are naughty or nice at each reminder. You can also detach the reminder alarm so it is with you as you conduct your daily activities.
A really neat device for homebound individuals is the MD2 Automatic Pill Dispenser($800). A caregiver, or the patient himself, fills the machine with up to 30 days of pills and programs it to dispense the pills at the right time along withMD.2 instructions to the patient, such as "take with food." It keeps tabs on which pills are taken and which are not and can transmit an entire month's record to the patient's physician. Additionally, the MD2 can be programmed to call a relative or care provider notifying them within a certain time if a pill has not been taken.
Because an estimated 50 percent of elderly persons do not remember to take their prescription pills, the MD2 is a winner, especially if Medicare or other health insurer kicks in for this $800 computer. It has enabled many seniors to continue to live on their own and reduced costs for other health care needs, such as home health care.
Will Boomers Need So Many Pills?
These very useful pill boxes and dispensing instruments scare me, frankly. They've made me think about how I want to spend my senior years - not on so many medications that I need alerts every hour or two, I hope.
The boomer generation has popped a lot of pills for a lot of reasons and we're still doing it, although we may not yet need alarms. We're no longer on "the" pill, but take estrogen pills, testosterone pills, detoxification pills, diet pills, smart pills, sleeping pills, diuretics, sexual performance pills, tranquilizers, muscle relaxers, antidepressants, anticoagulants, antibiotics, antifungals, anti-inflamatories, antacids, antihistamines or steroids....No doubt, the development of each and every one of these pills was a stroke of genius for their developers, but do we all need them? And do we have to take all of them?
Ok, so maybe you're into the vitamins or "supplements." Is our food supply so scarce or so tainted that we can't get good nutrition and natural protection against disease from our diets? I've seen some of those supplement catalogs. There are hundreds of products in them and they are all "important" for something or other. How do you decide? Personally, I would rather spend an extra $20 to $30 a week on healthy and delicious foods, naturally raised and organically grown, than an extra $200 on supplements.
The United States does not lead the world in longevity, you know. Despite all of its pill popping, it is the 47th longest-lived country in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook (2006) . Countries with healthy lifestyles and diets in Europe, the Far East, Near East, the Caribbean...countries that have much lower health care costs than we do, have longer-lived inhabitants, even though we have much higher levels of income than almost all of them. But I can tell you that Andorrans, whose average longevity is six years beyond ours (83 vs. 77), don't relax by their fires reading supplement catalogs or watching antidepressant commercials.
I'm examining my lifestyle and the medications and supplements I take. I'm going to look carefully into claims made by drug and supplement companies. If I really want to achieve what they're selling... be it an allergy free day in spring or a really hot sexual passion, I'm going to look for natural ways to achieve them. I'll get a neti pot and a young Italian lover. I'll exercise to get energy, I'll learn new tricks to exercise my brain, and I'll socialize with friends and family for peace of mind.
Think about whether you want to spend your senior years tied to a pillbox alert. What track are you on right now?
Yes, I know. Stuff happens. If it does, we're covered. If it doesn't, we'll celebrate!
Keeping you posted...