Change can be hard. It can also greatly improve lives. Consider how email has made it easy to stay in touch across time and distance, without a lot of expense. Or how streaming services have put your favorite television shows and movies at your fingertips. Every revolutionary change requires some adjustment. You might have to master new skills or change your attitude toward technology. But a willingness to try new things can open new opportunities for a better life. Many seniors and some caregivers are reluctant to give automatic pill dispensers a try. Yet within a few days, almost everyone who invests in these machines is a convert.
Here are the most common objections caregivers hear from seniors—and how you can overcome them to ensure the senior you love gets the best possible care.
It’s Too Expensive
Nationwide, medication errors cost the economy more than $21 billion annually. Medication errors are on the rise, and improper dosing is the most common culprit. A serious medication error could cost your loved one their life. More minor errors can mean more money shelled out at the pharmacy, more frequent doctor’s visits, more time spent driving to appointments, and less time to oneself. The small up-front cost of an automatic pill dispenser is an investment in prolonged good health.
When seniors don’t require help to manage medications, they may be able to live independently longer. That can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings. The average assisted care bill is about $4,000 a month, compared to $7,000-$8,000 for nursing care, about $4,000 for in-home care, and more than $1,500 for adult day care. Put the money into savings instead.
It’s Too Hard
It’s true that mastering new technology requires mastering new skills, but that could be a good thing. Mastering a new skill can help keep seniors’ brains sharp, and may even prevent dementia. If the senior in your life isn’t swayed, take heart. Learning to use a quality automatic pill dispenser is as easy as following a few simple instructions. And with your help, your senior doesn’t have to learn how to load the device or even understand how it works.
Overworked caregivers who are wary of adding a new complication need not worry, either. Using a pill dispenser is as simple as counting and loading a few pills, then refilling the device when it reminds you to do so. To overcome seniors’ concerns about mastering new technology, consider showing them a video of an automatic pill dispenser in use. Explain that using the device is as simple as following the reminders it offers and pushing a button. Then, when the device arrives, spend a few minutes showing them how to use it. Most seniors find that an automatic pill dispenser is much easier than counting pills, managing large traditional pillboxes, or trying to keep track of pills on a notepad.
I Don’t Need Help
Some seniors feel like getting help from an automatic pill dispenser is the first step on a conveyor belt they can’t escape. First comes the pill dispenser, then more concern from family members, and then eventually, they’re in a nursing home they hate. Help your loved one understand that this is not the inevitable outcome of a little extra support. In fact, a pill dispenser may mean your loved one needs less help, whether from paid caregivers or family members.
Everyone needs a little help with daily tasks. Whether it’s a virtual assistant, a smartphone, or a recording device at work, point out that we all rely on technology to have more time and less stress. This is about convenience—not about being old or giving up control.
I’m Not Sick
The subtext of many seniors’ objections to automatic pill dispensers is a reluctance to accept that they are getting older or have health problems. For them, getting help from a new device is akin to admitting defeat in the fight against aging. Remind your loved one that their medications are the very thing that keep them from getting sick. Taking them correctly can prolong their life. An automatic pill dispenser helps your loved one do something that even young and healthy people struggle with: remember to take the right pills at the right time, day after day.
I Don’t Want to Be Monitored
Some seniors are anxious about the prospect of being monitored. They want to retain their privacy and their dignity. They worry that allowing a loved one to see when they take their medication necessarily means giving up control.
Seniors should know that an automatic pill dispenser may actually give them more freedom, and require fewer intrusions. Caregivers no longer have to stop by to administer drugs, count pills, or send text reminders. Moreover, automatic pill dispensers don’t have the ability to monitor or film seniors—a concern some seniors, especially those who are not tech-savvy, occasionally express. Smart pill dispensers can actually mean less monitoring and more freedom. Additionally, a smart pill dispenser can help avoid more intrusive options like having nursing support come into their home to help administer medications.
The right automatic pill dispenser can ease your mind, give your loved one more independence, and even prevent a medication-related tragedy. So take some time to help your loved one understand this new device, rather than springing it on them without warning or explanation.