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Comparing the Cost of Automatic Pill Dispensers and Skilled Nursing


Comparing the Cost of Automatic Pill Dispensers and Skilled Nursing

Nearly 90 percent of seniors over the age of 65 hope to age in place, spending the next 10 years or longer in their homes. Most seniors envision restful, meaningful retirements filled with good health, new activities, and visits from family and friends. Too often, medical conditions turn this vision into something far less idyllic. Missed medications, endless prescriptions, too many trips to the doctor, and accidental medication overdoses pose serious dangers to seniors’ health and well-being.

The Hidden Costs of Medication Errors

The more medications a senior takes, the more vulnerable they are to medication mishaps. Yet many seniors rely on a variety of medications to remain in good health. Seventy-five percent of seniors take at least one medication, and more than half take four or more. This leaves plenty of room for error. Medication errors can mean costly trips to the hospital. Thirty percent of all hospital readmissions among seniors are due to medication issues. People who consistently take their medications, by contrast, live longer and healthier lives.

Some families keep their loved ones safe by investing in skilled nursing. But automatic pill dispensers offer a more affordable solution that can keep seniors happy, healthy, and independent for longer.

Skilled Nursing versus Automatic Pill Dispensers: Comparing Costs

The costs of in-home care vary greatly depending on the type of care your loved one needs. The average home health aide will cost you about $21/hour. If your loved one only needs help with medication 2-3 times a day, this could mean a daily cost of about $63/day, or $22,995/year. For seniors who take many drugs or who need more extensive monitoring, the costs can quickly rise much higher—up to $50,000 a year or more. 

Some people try to save money by hiring a cleaner or personal aide for $15-$20/hour. Even at just 2-3 hours a day of assistance with basic tasks, you’re looking at anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 or more per year.

What if you’re considering placing your loved one in a skilled nursing facility? This is a good option for seniors with extensive medical needs or moderate to severe dementia. It’s also extremely expensive. Nursing home care costs an average of $225-$250 per day, or $82,125-$91,250 per year. Assisted living communities are typically cheaper, costing an average of $119 per day, or $43,435 per year.

An automatic pill dispenser, however, is a mere fraction of these costs. For seniors who primarily or exclusively need help with medication management, they can prolong independence. Livi offers a purchase option for $979,that translates to just a few dollars a day. This small investment offers greater peace of mind, better health, and more free time for both seniors and the caregivers who love them.

Making the Choice: Skilled Nursing or Automatic Pill Dispensers?

Every family is different, and no single solution works for everyone. So which option is right for you?

In-home care might be right for your loved one if:

  • Your loved one needs help with daily tasks, such as bathing and grooming.

  • You are not nearby and no local family members can regularly check in on your loved one.

  • Your loved one needs extensive help with medication management.

An automatic pill dispenser may be the best choice if:

  • Your loved one’s primary need is medication management.

  • Your loved one wants to age in place and is resistant to accepting help or moving.

  • You can check on your loved one as needed.

  • In-home care is an expense your family cannot afford.

A move to a senior living community such as assisted living or skilled nursing may be appropriate if:

  • Your loved one is very isolated.

  • Your loved one poses a danger to themselves, such as by routinely forgetting to turn off the stove.

  • Your loved one needs constant or near-constant support.

  • Your loved one has very complex medical needs that require daily management.

Meeting Your Loved One’s Needs

If you’re still uncertain which option is best, consider making a list of the challenges your loved one faces—or that you face as their caregiver—on a weekly basis. Next to each challenge, list a solution. If you find that most of the solutions center around medication management, then an automatic pill dispenser may be all that stands between your loved one and a healthier, happier life. If your loved one’s needs are complex and increasingly taxing, you may need the help of in-home care or a residential facility.

You know your loved one best. So take a long, hard look at their needs. Then consider whether an automatic pill dispenser might save you time, money, and stress.

The Ultimate Guide to Medication Management - Blog