Thursday, March 24, 2011

Coming Full-Circle.

I had an interesting question from a reader this past week that I thought I'd share with you. It's been on my mind since receiving it and read; "I need to help my 82 year old mother organize her medications for herself and my father who has Alzheimers".

She went on to say, "We have designated a pull-out shelf in a closet, but we're not sure what kind of containers to use to separate the various prescriptions, pain medicines and vitamins...and then to separate them from his and hers! Help!"

Honestly, I've never been asked a question concerning how to best organize prescriptions or any other medications, not to mention issues centered around organizing and aging at all!

Right off the top of my head I quickly wrote her back and suggested she purchase enough daily pill dispenser boxes, (in 2 colors, one for him, one for her) to accommodate the different types of pills.

For instance; Dad's might be blue, each boldly and clearly labeled Dad's Prescriptions, Dad's Pain Meds, Dad's Vitamins. The same for mom using her 'color' and clearly labeling them as well. I hope it helped and promised to give her particular situation more serious thought.

Well, I've been thinking a lot about not only her question, but what other potential organizing challenges many of us will encounter as our parents age -  and so do we! Now, I am not only intrigued with this particular issue, but have added it to the top of my list to begin to formulate ideas to address these challenges.

In the meantime, do you remember the book by Hillary Clinton; It Takes A Village ? She wrote it when she was First Lady. It's title is based on an old African proverb that, as she says "offers a timeless reminder that children will thrive if their families thrive and if the whole of society cares enough to provide for them".

As I ponder and begin to research questions and concerns surrounding the challenges of aging and organizing, I feel it's time to take the book's message full circle. That is to say that we'll need that same, tight-knit village to lend a hand, to support and to care for our aging family members as well.

Clearly, the reader who sent me her question needed a village. I'm glad she reached out because not only was I happy to lend a hand, I became acutely aware of the organizing challenges we'll all face as we age.

On that note, I'd love to hear your suggestions and/or challenges surrounding these issues and your family village.


  1. Being a retired private caregiver, this was important to me. I like the idea of the different colored med boxes. And definite labels ON the boxes as to what and when to be taken.

    It is so easy to get mixed up. An alarm (phone alarm which has a description of what meds to take when) would also help. Especially when memory is not so great, and it's easy to double up or take the wrong meds at the wrong time.

    If this is happening commonly, someone needs to monitor each med and time taken. Perhaps by phone; in person if necessary.

    I've had clients in this situation, and the only answer was a live in, or drop by monitoring.

    Btw, I LOVED my job!