My friend Lloyd, who has a demanding full-time job, is helping to care for his in-laws, who’ve moved closer to him due to their declining health.

He shared with me that he’d been to the pharmacy eight times last month and was beginning to resent the amount of time he spent there.

“The prescriptions my in-laws take are all due at different times,” he lamented. “I feel like I am living at the pharmacy. Then I get all the bottles home and I have to sort them into their pillboxes. There has to be a better way.”

Complex medication regimens, transportation challenges, age-related physical and mental debilities and varying renewal dates can significantly affect medication adherence as well as the quality of life for seniors and their family caregivers.

Physicians and pharmacies recognize this issue, as hospitalizations due to taking medications improperly have increased.

A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that somewhere between 33 and 50 percent of all of medication related hospital visits for seniors in the United States are due to nonadherence.

Adding to the complexity, a hospital admission typically results in changes to medication regimens. The transition from hospital to home is a particularly vulnerable time for older patients. According to one study, one in five hospitalizations is complicated by post-discharge adverse events, and 66 percent of these events are related to medications.

Two pharmacies, one a national chain and one a local independent pharmacy, are out to improve the process of buying and managing medications for seniors and caregivers.

CVS Pharmacy has a service that packages patients’ eligible pill/capsule daily medications into a 30-day supply of convenient multi-dose packs. The packs are labeled morning, midday, evening or bedtime, depending on their prescriber’s instructions, and are stored in an easy-to-use dispenser box. They are mailed to the patient’s home or their local CVS Pharmacy for pickup.

Patients who are taking six or more medications every day and are stabilized on their medications for at least a few months are eligible for these multi-dose packages. Multi-dose packs are not available in all states and are not covered by all insurance plans.

You can read more about this service at

All Med Pharmacy, a local independent pharmacy chain, has locations in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Fillmore and Simi Valley. Their services include home delivery and medication synchronization, and they offer durable medical equipment and a variety of medication packaging services, including the packaging service Dispill.

Dispill allows the pharmacist to prefill a blister-pack pillbox that includes all medications sorted into color-coded packs by time of day. Each blister can be detached and transported as necessary.

You can learn more about the Dispill system offered by All Med Pharmacy at The brief two minute video does an excellent job of explaining the system and benefits of the program. All Med’s website is

Your local pharmacy may also offer a multi-dose medication system, so check with your local pharmacist.

More than one-third of prescriptions drugs used in the U.S. are taken by senior patients. The average senior patient is taking more than five prescription medications; the average nursing home patient is taking seven medications.

If we can make taking medications easier with no need to sort pills into dispensers and fewer trips to the pharmacy, the health of the senior as well as the quality of life for seniors and caregivers, may improve. A win for everyone.

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