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Taking medicine at home - create a routine

It can be hard to remember to take all of your medicines. Learn some tips to create a daily routine that helps you remember.

Create a Daily Routine

Take medicines with activities that are part of your everyday routine. For example:

  • Take your medicines with meals. Keep your pillbox or medicine bottles near the kitchen table. First ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can take your medicine with food. Some medicines need to be taken when your stomach is empty.
  • Take your medicine with another daily activity that you never forget. Take them when you feed your pet or brush your teeth.

Find Ways to Help You Remember Your Medicines

You can:

  • Set the alarm on your clock, computer, or phone for your medicine times.
  • Create a buddy system with a friend. Arrange to make phone calls to remind each other to take medicine.
  • Have a family member stop by or call to help you remember.
  • Make a medicine chart. List each medicine and the time that you take the medicine. Leave a space so that you can check off when you take the medicine.
  • Store your medicines in the same place so it is easy to get to them. Remember to keep medicines out of reach of children.

What to Ask Your Doctor

Talk to the doctor about what to do if you:

  • Miss or forget to take your medicines
  • Have trouble remembering to take your medicines
  • Have trouble keeping track of your medicines. Your doctor may be able to cut back on some of your medicines. (DO NOT cut back or stop taking any medicines on your own. Talk to your doctor first.)

References

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Treatments & Medications. www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/diagnosis-treatment/treatments/index.html. Updated April 2016. Accessed November 3, 2016.

National Institute on Aging website. www.nia.nih.gov/health/safe-use-medicines-older-adults. Updated June 29, 2017. Accessed September 6, 2017.

Review Date 9/3/2016

Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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