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Organizing Medications for COPD

Mom wanted to remain as independent as possible. She enjoyed having our support, but didn’t want to be a burden. The first few years after her diagnosis with COPD were actually filled with a new found freedom for her in a way. She now had medications and portable oxygen. Instead of sitting at home breathless, she was on the go…. as long as she had those inhalers. After a pharmacy tech didn’t get enough information from the right person, mom almost died waiting on her life saving prescription. That is when we learned that she needed help organizing medications for COPD.

We loved going to mom’s house. It was a bit messy. When her fatigue set in, she collected piles of things around her chair, in the closet, and on the kitchen cabinet. We weren’t really sure where she kept her medications because she had always take care of it herself. After our emergency, and her panic attack, we had a long talk with her. We learned a lot about living with new med routines.

Old Habits

She sometimes forgot to refill on time.

Occasionally she lost, or misplaced, an inhaler.

When she changed purses, some items would be tucked away.

She carried everything in her purse.

I had hints that there were problems. More than once, I had found medicine at my house after she left. My daughter cleaned house for her and found all kinds of bottles stashed in old purses, luggage, and even make up bags. The medicine cabinet only contained her dental care items, eye care solutions, and little things like cotton swabs. That was about to change.

New Habits

She got a weekly pill organizer for all of her meds.

Her inhalers were all placed in clear bags.

Pill Organizer – To get her new routine started quickly, we bought the weekly pill organizer. There were 4 slots for each day. It seemed like a lot at the time. Later, when she began to take different types of medications, she was glad to have it. She still had a small pill container that fit in her purse. Of course, it was a fancy one that my sis got her as a souvenir from a trip. She loved pretty things. The larger weekly med case was kept by her chair stored in her end table.

Pharmacy Box – She had a larger plastic container that held her prescription bottles. Every single item that came from the pharmacy went straight into that box. She kept it at the end table also, and refilled her weekly pill organizer from it.

Clear Bags – She started out with a clear freezer type bag for her inhalers. They could be rolled up and put in her purse, and still be grabbed easily when needed. It was the gallon size and hard to lose, even in a pile of stuff! Eventually we found a cool one with a zipper that served the same purpose.

Organizing medications for COPD can bring peace of mind. It took a few steps to get started. She made a few adjustments, but we felt better knowing that mom could put her hands on what she needed. That meant more freedom for all of us, especially mom.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Patty
    1 year ago

    My opinion: Access to our medications shouldn’t be at the whim of our doctor’s staff, busy phone signal, broken computer lost prescription or a clueless pharmacy tech. We’re grown-ups. We should have access to our medications immediately just by requesting them, signing a record for them and showing I.D. — If we “abuse” them, shoot us. It is too easy to be overlooked, arbitrarily denied, or put through unnecessary anxiety to have access to the medications we need. I was on vacation and needed a rescue inhaler. Stressful. The time it took to dot the i’s and cross t’s was totally unnecessary and frightening. Maybe I should have been more prepared, but really what’s the big deal.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Patty and thanks for your post. If everyone could be as responsible and compliant with medications they use, the world would be a better place! I like your ideas and appreciate you taking the time to share them here! All the best, Leon (site moderator)

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