Five Ways to Remember to Take Your Heart Medication
Your doctor calls it "non-compliance" — in plain English that simply means failing to take your medicine in the way which they prescribed it to you.
Obviously, this can lead to harmful health issues, so what can you do to keep on track, and never forget to take your pills again?
Here are 5 tips to help you take your medication on time:
#1 Paper or digital reminders
You could use a paper calendar and make notes on it, as necessary.
If you have lots of pills to take, at different times throughout the day, another idea is to write or print out a gridded list with your pills on it, stating the medication to be taken, the quantity, and the time. As you take your pills, check off each one, to help you stay on track.
You can write or print out one of these gridded lists for each day of the week, or if you have room, one list per week would be very handy.
Alternatively, you may prefer to search for an online calendar, where you can add some notes, or automatically send reminders to yourself via email or text message.
There are even free services, available online, where you can sign up and they will make reminder calls to you. Try Mr Wakeup if you're interested in this.
#2 Auditory reminders
Most cell phones have an alarm function, which allows you to set a "daily" alarm time. All you need to do is choose a tone that will remind you to take your medicine, then once that goes off, you'll know it's time to take your pills.
Perhaps you don't have a cell phone — instead, you could simply set your alarm clock to go off at a particular time each day. Other alternatives include using a digital watch, or using a digital kitchen timer (which can be set for hours, rather than just minutes).
#3 Visual reminders
Try putting your medication close to something you deal with, or use, on a daily basis.
For example, if you take your heart medication in the morning, before going to bed the night before, place your pills next to the kettle, so that when you go to boil it for tea in the morning, you are immediately reminded to take your medication.
If you take pills that needs to be stored in the fridge, try sticking a post-it note on your coffee pot that says something like, "Take Pills NOW!"
Perhaps you have medications that need to be taken with a meal — you can remind yourself to take these by keeping them right on the table, in front of the place where you always sit to eat.
#4 Pill sorters
Pre-sorting your medication into a plastic pill box is a very good way to avoid accidently taking the same medication twice, and it's a good way to remember to take all of your pills, at the right time.
They come in many different sizes, but try to get one that can hold two weeks of medications at one time, one for each day of the week, as well as a.m./p.m. sections (if you need it).
If you need help to organize this, ask a friend or family member to fill the sections for you. Then, keep the container somewhere you will see it regularly, so that you remember to take them.
#5 Don't put if off
If you remember to take your medication, don't allow yourself to say "I'll do that in a few moments." Instead, get into the new habit of taking them when you remember (if it's time), rather than putting it off, and then forgetting to do so later.
What are your tips for remembering to take your medication?
Melanie Thomassian is a registered dietitian, and author of Dietriffic.com. Visit her blog for healthy eating tips and advice.