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Medication Dispensers for Seniors

For many seniors who live alone, remembering to take medication and dispensing the right dosage can be difficult. While you can purchase those plastic pillboxes at almost any pharmacy, some seniors lack the dexterity needed to get the pillbox open and are unsure of the dosages to fill them properly. Other times they may forget to take their medicine when they’re supposed to, or they might not take the right dosage, two scenarios that can lead to deadly consequences.

Medication dispensers take the guesswork out of taking medicine and offer audible reminders of when it’s time to take a dose. There are many different types on the market to accommodate the number of pills and dosages needed, but many dispensers work in the same way.

What are Digital Medication Dispensers?

As with many things these days, medication dispensers have gone digital. With these types of dispensers, usually a caregiver will pre-fill the dispenser, and it will lock to prevent tampering.

It will remain locked until it’s time for the patient to take their medicine. At this time, the dispenser will unlock and make a noise to indicate it’s time to take the pills. If the patient doesn’t hear the sound, some models will then play a recorded message from a loved one with a gentle reminder that it’s time to take their medicine.

If the patient still forgets to take their medicine, a caregiver connected to the system will receive an alert. This notification lets them know the dosage was missed so they can take the appropriate action.

Hero Medication Dispenser Review Video

For an example of this type of digital medication dispenser, take a moment to review this SeniorLiving.org YouTube video going over the Hero Medication Dispenser. Here, Jeff Hoyt goes over the ins and outs of this electronic dispenser, so you can get a better grasp of how they work, what features they have, and whether or not it is a good option for your situation.

What are the Benefits of a Medication Dispenser?

If everything works properly, the medication dispenser assures that the patient will take the right dosage of medicine at the right time. There are no worries that they will take too much or forget to take it. Although, in some cases, audible reminders may still not be enough. However, for most people, these dispensers provide peace of mind to caregivers who can’t be around every time a dosage is due.

Many dispensers will also sound an alarm and send an alert if the patient tries to tamper with the machine. Although many do lock, some patients may try to get inside the dispenser.

How Much Do Medication Dispensers Cost?

The cost of medication dispensers run the gamut, with some costing as little as $60, while others cost hundreds of dollars. The ones that have more bells and whistles tend to cost the most. Some also require a subscription service because they can contact caregivers much in the same way as a medical alert system. While these are worthwhile services, be wary of some and the contracts that they may contain. You don’t want to be locked into a contract that you can’t get out of without paying a substantial fee.

Where Can I Get an Electronic or Digital Medication Dispenser?

Many medication dispensers can be bought online or at a pharmacy. Medical equipment companies also sell them.

Does Medicare Cover Electronic Medicine Dispensers?

Medicare does not cover the cost of electronic medicine dispensers. In some states, Medicaid may pay for the cost, but you would have to look into your state’s regulations, as states determine Medicaid coverage.

Also, if you’re a veteran, some Veterans Affairs programs will cover medicine dispensers. Check to see what your benefits include.

When it comes to medication dispensers, there is a wide variety on the market. Explore these devices to see which ones can accommodate your loved ones’ needs and which ones are the easiest for them to use.

If you want to be contacted if any issues arise, then a subscription-based service may be best. Although these types of medication dispensers are typically an out-of-pocket expense, they can be worth the money because they give family and caregivers peace of mind when it comes to disbursing medication dosages.

Reviewed By

Linda Schlenker

Senior Safety Expert

Linda’s Acclaimed Career in Senior Care Linda Schlenker is a comforting voice for seniors and caregivers across the U.S. For nearly three decades, Linda has helped seniors remain safe in their own homes, while helping them to regain priceless independence and peace… Learn More About Linda Schlenker

Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt