Choosing the Right Pill Organizer for a Senior

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A pill organizer streamlines the process of taking and tracking medicines. All the drugs are orderly arranged in one container without having to sort through multiple bottles. Systematic dispensing can prevent dosing errors. To find a convenient device, here’s what to consider, based on your loved one’s needs.

Medication Record 

First, list all the medications and supplements your loved one takes. Documenting them will help you choose and fill the organizer. Type up the information on your computer to make it easier to update. Here’s what to include:

  • Medicine name and strength
  • Purpose
  • Dosage and schedule
  • Pill size, shape, and color
  • Name and phone number of prescribing doctor 
  • Pharmacy phone number
  • Special instructions
  • Drug allergies
  • Emergency contacts

Once you’ve compiled all the data, print five copies—one each for yourself, another emergency contact, your loved one, and your loved one’s caregiver as well as one to use for reference at doctor appointments.

Seniors who need help with medication management can benefit from professional in-home care. Senior care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Container Size

Tally the number of pills your loved one takes daily. The total number determines the ideal size and capacity of the device. Compartments should be large enough for easy filling and removal of pills. Take pill sizes into account, and decide the number of days you want the organizer to stock tablets. Organizers are available with enough slots for morning, noon, evening, and bedtime doses. This design suits seniors who take several medications throughout the day. 

Ease of Use 

If your loved one has impaired dexterity, select a dispenser with push-button lids. The Arthritis Foundation endorses a few pill organizers with user-friendly features. Containers with the foundation’s Ease of Use Commendation have sections that readily pop open with one touch. A curved compartment base also makes it easier to open lids. 

Conversely, organizers with snap-tight square lids can be difficult to manage. However, for a senior with dementia, this design is protective. A tamper-proof container prevents dosing errors caused by memory loss and confusion. Another option is a dispenser that locks.

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Kingwood seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.

Visual Assistance 

Color-coded compartments can help your loved one distinguish when to take medications. Clear lids make it evident that your loved one has taken his or her scheduled doses. For a visually impaired senior, look for lids with large, bold, and black lettering. Braille labels are also available.

Built-In Reminders 

Electronic organizers have timers that sound alarms when doses are due. Some timers are paired with music, vibrations, or message screens. Some high-tech reminders even use electronic voices that advise the number of pills to take upon opening the case. If your loved one has hearing loss, choose an organizer with flashing lights or a loud alarm. Some models let you adjust the volume and tone for different hearing levels. You can also find organizers that send alerts about missed doses by text, email, or phone call. With certain electronic models, you can be called when electric power is lost or the organizer needs refilling.


If the pill organizer will be used for long-distance travel, consider how it will fit into a carry-on bag or suitcase. Some dispensers include pill splitters that add to their overall size. However, some models have removable compartments, enabling downsizing for travel. For discreet storage, fashionable designs are available that resemble wallets, clutches, and vanity bags. If drugs are required during short periods away from home, buy a small dispenser.

After Purchase 

Once you’ve bought a unit, become familiar with how it works. If your loved one is able to independently take his or her medication, demonstrate how the container is used. Then make sure he or she can manage without needing help. Stock the dispenser according to your loved one’s medication schedule. To be efficient, fill all the compartments in advance for the labeled days. If your loved one can accurately portion out medicines, he or she can load the device.

If your loved one needs help managing his or her medications, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Kingwood families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. Call us at 832-412-1345 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality home care services.