The first medicine box came from an observation of our elder taking more than a prescribed dose of medication. It was obvious that she could no longer manage this on her own. The problem was twofold; how do we keep her out of the medications and how do we make sure she is taking what she needs when she needs it.
The answer to these problems was to hire 24/7 care and buy a medicine box. It’s actually a plastic electrician’s tool box, but it works. In fact, we ended up with two boxes, and the reason will appear shortly.
Why the boxes? One box was great for a while; everyone followed the instructions on the bottle. Then we got a caregiver that didn’t follow instructions and handed out way too much of some seriously strong prescriptions. This lead to a locked box and a pill planner…until our elder came wandering into the kitchen, saw the planner on the counter and took all of her night time medications at ten in the morning. The second lock box fixed that.
What goes in it? Everything medication wise goes in it. Even her aspirin bottle is in it. As she is now on blood thinners, we can’t chance her accidentally taking something that will interfere with or increase the medications.
What about the keys? This has been a little more of a problem than we like, but we’re working it out. At first, the keys had to be kept out of sight, so those who had keys kept them in their pockets. However, we haven’t given everybody a key to the boxes. The pill planner box key is passed from one caregiver to the next.
The problem that has come up is that it’s easy to leave the house and forget to hand over the key. The only solution to that is to call the caregiver and have them come back to hand over said key.
Prescriptions: Most medications can come via mail order. Some the pharmacy won’t mail, and that is a problem when working from a distance. Our solution to this has been to overlap a shift so that one caregiver is with our elder and one can go pick up the medication. We’re still working on how to pay in advance. Right now, it’s out of pocket with reimbursement.
Having medicine boxes relieves my mind about who has access to what medication. It makes it easier to know the medications are being given in a timely manner and not overdosed. If you are in a similar place, head to a home improvement store and get an electrician’s tool box. Get appropriate locks and keys, and set up a way to keep track.