When Memory is a problem
Imagine living a life that revolves around medication. I know many of you can relate. Try keeping track of 200 pills a week with nine different daily dosage times. What time is it? Did I take my pills? Did I forget my medicine? What’s next when memory becomes such a problem your reminder strategies begin to fail?
Get up Make Coffee Take Pills Go back to bed.
In our home, we use all the tricks. Multiple hourly phone alarms complete with vibration and flashing strobe light. Making sure of the visible placement of two giant pillboxes with pretty little spaces so your day can be compartmentalized by the dose of the hour. Piggybacking dose time to daily tasks.
I shut my alarm off and fell back asleep.
Day by day
I forgot to bring my pills; I have to go back home.
When you’re fighting short-term memory loss, mild cognitive impairment, or constant brain fog it’s not only frustrating, it begins to feel slightly terrifying.
I can’t remember, did my alarm already go off?
There must be a solution, or at the very least some sort of safety net, we haven’t discovered. A phone tied into hearing aids seemed to be a good system but time has revealed the kinks. Forget to wear your hearing aids, and everyone in the house hears the alarm but the one person who needs it. Walk outside and forget your phone is inside when your alert goes off? You tell yourself you’ll take your meds as soon as you step back inside but will you honestly remember? No, you won’t.
My Wednesday noon pill is still in the box.
Nine different dose times a day was so confusing we sat down with a pharmaceutical doctor to see if things could be streamlined. When you have multiple specialists at different facilities medication coordination can fall through the cracks. By reviewing a complete list of Gary’s medications, she was able to explain just precisely which meds should not be taken together, what really needed to be taken with food or needed an empty stomach.
The doctor worked her scheduling magic, and we left with a revised schedule of four times a day. Two pillboxes became one by combining compatible medications. -A small but welcome change in a positive direction.
I put the wrong pill in my box.
The next step? Most likely will involve having the alerts synced into my phone. This solution might be helpful to couples but what about those who struggle to survive memory problems alone? We had tried keeping a hidden emergency stash of meds in our car for those times when we left home without them but remembering to replace them never happened before they were needed again.
As frustration and fear continue to grow, we hope that an answer is out there. We just need a solution to find us.