Don’t Forget to Take Your Meds!
Recently I was having a conversation with a friend who has COPD about how he manages it. It got me to thinking about how we all have our own routines and things we do to keep track of our health as well as remembering to take our medications. Whether you have a long-standing lung disease or are newly diagnosed there are things you can do to help remember to take your medication. Here are a few tips & tricks that I have personally found helpful as well as some that I have learned from friends and the patients I care for at the hospital.
Use a notebook
This is one of the simplest ways to keep track of medication usage. A friend of mine told me that he keeps his simple spiral notebook next to his nebulizer and jots down the time he last used it. This way he is able to see when his next dose will be due and prevent using his nebulizer more than his doctor prescribed. It is also a good idea to write down any symptoms you are experiencing each day in your notebook and be sure to bring it to your doctor appointments for reference.
Smart phone apps
We live in a digital age. Smartphones have become even more sophisticated over the past decade and can be downright confusing and frustrating at times. They can also be extremely helpful when it comes to managing health conditions. There are many third-party apps that can help keep track of when to take your medication, doctor's appointments, and overall health. I personally am a huge fan of the regular calendar app that came standard with my iPhone. I set reminders and timers that alert me throughout the day to take my medication. I also set an alarm/reminder when it is time to refill my medications so I don’t ever run out. We are human, after all, and sometimes we get busy or just plain forget. This is why having a backup plan for reminding you is essential.
Keep daily medications together
Try to find a place in your home to keep your meds that is easily accessible and also safe for meds to be stored. It is not a good idea to store your medications in the bathroom (one with a shower or bath) as the heat and humidity/moisture in the air in there can damage your medication and even make them less potent.1 If you have more than one rescue inhaler try to keep them in places that are easy to get to and remember to put them back after using it. I have multiple rescue inhalers in various places and I always know exactly where they are when I need them. I also keep my medications all in a plastic shoe box next to my bed on my nightstand table. Having it all together makes it easier to remember if you took them vs having to go to multiple locations within your home to take all of your meds.
These are only a few quick tips to help you remember to take your medications as well as where to store them. You have to find a solution that works for you and give yourself some grace as you figure it out.
What are some ways that you have found helpful to remember to take your medications?
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?