Medication Management: Tips from an OT

Occupational therapist Anne Escher leans over the shoulder of a visually impaired elder during an occupational visit.

Occupational therapist Anne Escher leans over the shoulder of a visually impaired elder during a vision rehabilitation visit.

Anne Escher is an occupational therapist who teaches at Boston University Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She specializes in acute care, low vision and rehabilitation.

As an occupational therapist I am always trying to help people be as independent and safe as possible with their daily activities. Each person is an individual and my clients demonstrate different levels of visual impairment as well as different daily routines they have already established. Appropriate OT interventions for medication management differ from person to person, but there are some “low-tech” ideas that could help many people.

  • Write out a schedule in large, bold print. A written reminder of which medication to take when simplifies the process of taking medication especially if taking several mediations several times a day
  • Put a particular number of thumb tacks or bump dots on top of each medication number to differentiate each from one another
  • Use a large print pillbox. These are widely accessible at most pharmacies.
  • Ask the pharmacist to bubble wrap your medications or provide large print medication bottles.
  • Put your pills on a colored surface that will provide high contrast, for instance, a dark colored dish or napkin for white pills

There are also some relatively “high-tech” options that may also be beneficial. Here are a couple:

  • Use a handheld magnifier or CCTV to read the label.
  • Video magnifiers like the CCTVin particular are some of the more powerful magnifying tools, consisting of a video camera connected to a monitor.
  • Use a “talking medication bottle,” where a voice recording device recites the name of the medication at the push of a button.​ If needed, the pharmacist can record the instructions.

Do you have any tips for managing medication? Let us know in the comments.

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About mabvi

Pressing Need The number of seniors with low vision is expected to double by 2030, as the “baby boomers” experience sight loss such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. Low vision makes it difficult to complete activities of daily living, puts elders at increased risk of falls, and complicates health care compliance. There is a pressing need for low vision services today more than ever, to ensure people with vision loss can continue to live the lives they want. Elders are the fastest-growing and most vulnerable population of persons with sight loss. Four of the five major causes of blindness are directly related to the aging process: age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. According to data published by the Commission for the Blind and the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, there are an estimated 105,000 elders in Massachusetts with serious sight loss who cannot receive state-funded services because they are not “legally blind.” Nevertheless, their vision impairment is serious, and without appropriate intervention, can have a devastating impact on their independence.

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