National Caregivers Month: Must have products

We have reached the last post in our National Caregivers Month caregiver tips series. We hope these tips have been helpful to you! When asked about products for caregivers, our Family Care Specialists suggested the following three products.

1. MedicAlert®+ Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®
The MedicAlert + Safe Return service comes as the most highly recommended product for dementia patients from our Family Care Specialists. The MedicAlert + Safe Return program is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia who wander or have a medical emergency. An identification bracelet is issued to the individual that includes a number and any medical information that may be needed in an emergency situation. It is also a good idea for the caregiver to wear a bracelet as well: If something were to happen to you, the bracelet can let others know that you have a dependant waiting at home who needs care. Find out more about MedicAlert®+ Safe Return®at your local Alzheimer’s Association office or online at www.alz.org.

2. Home Safety Products
Creating a safe environment will help you breathe a little easier! Home safety products can help you and your loved one to prevent dangerous accidents as much as possible. A lot of these products are used as “child proofing”””stove knob covers, doorknob locks, and door alarms are just a few examples. Consider behaviors that are common in your loved one to evaluate what home safety products would work best.

3. Medication Dispensers
Plastic medication dispensers are common and can be very useful, especially in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. However, as the dementia progresses, an electronic medication dispenser might be your best option. When using an electronic medication dispenser, a person can only have access to fill the dispenser through a code Only the caregiver can get access to all pills in the dispenser at one time. Once it is filled and programmed, the device will open with pills needed for that specific time. A voice or noise will go off when the pills are available, reminding the person that they need to take their medication. Electronic medication dispensers can range from about $75 -$200 depending on what model is purchased.

Meet our Family Care Specialists (L-R) Alex manages our respite program, assists families through our 24/7 Helpline, speaks on dementia research and a variety of dementia topics at our community programs and facilitates a local caregiver support group and early stage Alzheimer's support group. She has experience as a State Certified Ombudsman, has a Masters degree in Gerontology and is a Credentialed Professional Gerontologist and Private Certified Geriatric Care Manager. Helen is a native Californian who has lived in the bay area for most of the last thirty years.She manages the Northern Nevada and California chapter Helpline volunteers and facilitates a younger onset caregiver support group. Helen received her training as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She will often have a canine companion at work, whose name is Scout. Stefanie provides support and education to family caregivers, assists families through Helpline, presents educational workshops to the community and facilitates support groups for caregivers and early stage Alzheimer's disease. Stephanie has an MSW from University of Washington.

Meet our Family Care Specialists (L-R)
Alex manages our respite program, assists families through our 24/7 Helpline, speaks on dementia research and a variety of dementia topics at our community programs and facilitates a local caregiver support group and early stage Alzheimer’s support group. She has experience as a State Certified Ombudsman, has a Masters degree in Gerontology and is a Credentialed Professional Gerontologist and Private Certified Geriatric Care Manager.
Helen is a native Californian who has lived in the bay area for most of the last thirty years.She manages the Northern Nevada and California chapter Helpline volunteers and facilitates a younger onset caregiver support group. Helen received her training as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She will often have a canine companion at work, whose name is Scout.
Stefanie provides support and education to family caregivers, assists families through Helpline, presents educational workshops to the community and facilitates support groups for caregivers and early stage Alzheimer’s disease. Stephanie has an MSW from University of Washington.

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2 Responses

  1. Ava says:

    Hi, I’m wondering if you can recommend sites for medication reminder dispensers with perhaos feedback on proven success. This seems to be the biggest challenge right now.

    • pguinto says:

      Hi Ava, here are some comments from our helpline staff:
      From Lisa:
      Go to the Alz Store (alzstore.com), and to query “medication dispensers. There are several there. Sorry, I don’t have a recommendation on a specific model, but I recommend a model that lights up in/around the dispenser cup and has an alarm that continues go off periodically until the medication is taken out of the cup.

      From Alex:
      Sophisticated Medication Dispensers
      There is a wide range of electronic pill dispensing and medication reminder products on the market. The trick is to find something that works best for you. Make sure that whatever electronic pill dispenser you buy, the seller allows a 30-day or at least two-week return policy so you can test it out.
      • Reminders. These devices are available as watches, wristbands, pendants or clocks and timers that beep when you need to take a medication. Many feature voice recordings with pill-taking instructions.

      • Talking pill bottles.These products have a recording device on the bottle. You push a button and listen to a message (e.g., how many pills to take and how).

      • Smart bottle caps. These come with recordings or digital screens that display pill-taking instructions, or bottle holders that do the same when you place the prescription bottle inside.
      Automatic or electronic pill dispensers. These devices dispense medications at the proper dose at timed intervals and notify the patient with a beeping alarm and flashing lights when it’s time to take the medication. Only the most recent dose is available so that if a patient misses a dose, there is no double dose. Pills are placed in removable trays that can be loaded by licensed personnel or family members, and many dispensers can cover up to thirty days of medications.

      Med-e-lert Automatic Pill Dispenser 28 Day Single Dose / 7 Day 4 Times (Left)

      MD2 PLUS: Notification by Phone, by e-mail or by text (SMS) message on your cell phone if the patient is late taking medications. (Center)

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