If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be writing this post I would have laughed. In fact, I used to tease my mom about all her medication. Now here I am with five thousand bottles of drugs. Not so funny anymore. Do you have the same problem? Have you come up with creative ways to remember to take your medications? I can’t be the only one but I am going to share my tips because…sharing is caring.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to take my meds or the times I have but couldn’t remember when or which ones. All of us have this problem at some point in our chronic lives.
That’s why I HAD to come up with some ideas that would help me remember to take my medications.
With my Hashimoto’s I also have to take extra vitamins and other supplements. Some of you may have an intricate schedule that you need to follow when taking your medications. To eat or not to eat? Calculating times between certain meds to avoid problems. It gets crazy!
The Atlantic says “When it comes to prescription drugs, patients are not following doctors’ orders. The numbers and impact are alarming: Research shows that nearly 25 percent of patients who are prescribed medications for a newly diagnosed chronic illness do not fill their initial prescription. In addition, half of patients taking maintenance medications for chronic conditions will stop taking them within the first year of starting therapy.”
Is this is normal?! I do understand some of the reasons people don’t take their meds. Finances. Inability to care for themselves. Flares that make it impossible to move much less get up and around. Still, I would love to help make taking your meds easier.
Did you know that “About half of medications for chronic disease aren’t taken as directed” according to NPR? That is a dismal thought but understandable given our state of health. If we all had round-the-clock care I imagine this review would be much different.
Below are 9 ways that helped me remember to take my medications. I use whatever works for me each day. Sometimes all I can do is scribble the info on my little notepad, others I can use a spreadsheet:
- Set the alarm on your phone. You can even name your alarm (on some devices) with your medication name, so you know precisely what med or vitamin to take. I have one set at 5 a.m. every morning to make sure I take my thyroid medication on an empty stomach. Then I go back to sleep.
- Keep a notepad next to your bed or the couch to jot down what you took and when.
- Use a pillbox or sorter to keep your meds organized by day. This idea won’t help with times you need to take meds, but it can help on a daily basis.
- There is a fantastic little gadget that I saw on my Pinterest feed the other day. You can sort all your medications and vitamins into bags. Write the dates and times on each bag, and you are all set. How neat is that?
- Keep your medications in sight. Use a plastic basket to store your meds and keep it close, so you don’t have to use your energy to find or get the meds. I posted some advice not long ago about spring cleaning and organizing your bedroom that might help with this tip.
- Have someone help you remember to take your meds. See if a friend or family member can call or text you when you need to take a medication. Maybe they can even stay with and help you on a daily basis.
- Use a spreadsheet to track your meds AND other things like symptoms, 1-10 pain scale ratings, foods you ate and flares.
- Set up your medicine schedule in your calendar app and have it send reminders when you need to take your meds.
- Last but not least, keep a list of all your medications, vitamins and supplements. You can laminate it and use a grease pencil or dry erase marker to mark off what you have taken.
I also created a printable FREE MEDICATION CHECKLIST for you. Download it, print it, fill in the blanks with your specific medications, vitamins, and supplements, laminate it, and you are ready to go. You could also use this, unlaminated, as part of your daily schedule. Keep it in a binder with all your notes and observations so you have something to show your doctor(s).
Every day we fight just to be able to enjoy a “normal” day again. Sometimes our medications can make that possible but not if we don’t take them.
If the suggestions above don’t work for you then maybe you need a different plan. If you can, ask friends and family about hacks they use. You might be surprised at the fantastic tips you get. It might even lead to a stronger friendship with someone you didn’t know was fighting chronic illness too.
In conclusion, it doesn’t matter what methods you use to remember to take your meds, only that you do.
I hope you find something that works. We are all different, and one trick may not work for me but works for you. Keep looking if you haven’t found a foolproof way to remember to take your medications. Your life may depend on it.
Do you have any spoonie hacks to share? Write a comment below or email me. I would love to add your tips and tricks to this list!
I love hearing all about how you tackle your struggles with chronic illness!
Do you have other tips you can share with us? Most spoonies have found workarounds for all types of things and I’d love to share your advice. Write a comment below or send me an email.
Kim is a freelance blogger, writer and VA. She loves sharing resources for other “spoonies” to help them create lives they love. Hoarding crochet patterns on Pinterest is her second favorite thing.