A Guide to the Best Automatic Pill Dispensers for Seniors

As your medication needs increase and your memory begins to fail, you may find yourself forgetting to take your pills. Those drugs could be keeping you alive, and it’s important to maintain whatever schedule your doctor has prescribed for you. 

That’s where automatic pill dispensers come in. These simple aids can remind you what you need to take and when you need to take it, giving you one less thing to worry about every day.

Forgetting to Take Medications

A quarter of seniors between the ages of 65 and 69 take five or more medications every single day, and that jumps to nearly 50% for individuals aged between 70 and 79. Some of these medications need to be taken three times a day at regular intervals, others can only be taken with foods or at night.

It’s a lot to remember and it’s no wonder that so many seniors forget. In the United States, it is estimated that 55% of Americans do not take their medications properly, either skipping doses or ignoring specific instructions. Close to a third of all hospital admissions may be related to misuse of valid prescriptions.

It’s clearly a serious issue, and while many of those cases result from intentional misuse, a significant percentage are the result of accidental overdoses, missed doses, and more. 

Close to 5 billion prescriptions are written every year in the United States. That’s over 15 prescriptions for every man, woman, and child in this country, and the majority are written for valid, potentially life-saving reasons. All things considered, it’s surprising that so many Americans take their prescriptions lightly and don’t pay much attention to their daily medication rituals.

Seniors in particular are prone to forgetting their daily medication needs, often citing one of the following reasons:

  • They don’t understand what their medications do
  • They forget what they need to take
  • It’s too much of a hassle to remember what to take and when
  • The labels are hard to read
  • They don’t understand how effective and useful the drugs are
  • The pill bottles are hard to open

Many seniors forget to refill their prescriptions or choose not to do it for one of the reasons outlined above. They’re intimidated, confused, and forget, and as a result, their physical or mental health may suffer.

If you find yourself in the same boat and want to bring those medications under control, an automatic pill dispenser could be the solution you need.

Types of Automatic Pill Dispensers

There are two main types of pill dispenser:

Simple Organizers

These pill organizers are ubiquitous these days. They are simple plastic containers that have separate compartments designating the day and/or time of day. The simple ones feature labels for every day of the week and may extend to two, three, or four weeks. Users simply choose the right day, open the little compartment, and take the pills.

Larger organizers include several spaces for each day and can be assigned as morning, afternoon, and evening.

Automatic Pill Dispensers

Our preferred option and the highlight of this article, automatic pill dispensers feature locked compartments that open at the right time and display the exact amount of medication required.

They reduce the risk of human error and can include multiple extra features for added safety. For instance, some automatic pill dispensers will alert a caregiver, healthcare provider, or family member if a dose is missed, allowing them to remedy the issue. 

Which Pill Dispenser is Right for You?

To find the right pill dispenser for you, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Ease of Use: How easy is the pill dispenser to use? If it’s your job to organize the medications, set the alarms, and apply the other features, you’ll need to know how easy it is to do these things.
  • Size: How many pills can the organizer hold and is it enough to hold all your medications for the day/week?
  • Alarms: Does the organizer include an alarm and if so, how does it work? Some alarms have different volume settings, others sound friendly reminders, and the better ones will alert your care providers.
  • Safety: Does the pill dispenser contain secure locks to prevent unwanted access? If you’re buying for someone with late-stage dementia, or if it will be placed in a house with children, you’ll want to make sure that it cannot be accessed unless it is absolutely necessary. 

The Best Automatic Pill Dispensers

Taking all of the above into consideration, we have listed some of our favorite automatic pill dispensers below.

  • MedReady 1700: A key-locked automatic pill dispenser that contains 28 compartments and comes with two keys and an alarm that sounds up to 4 times per day. It’s safe, secure, and completely tamper resistant. Customers have the option to purchase an extra tray that can be re-filled and slotted in as soon as the other one finishes.
  • MedMinder: An automatic pill dispenser that lets the user record a personal message to play when it’s time to take their meds. A caregiver or healthcare provider can program the dispenser to open multiple times throughout the day and to send alerts when the patient misses a dose. It’s secure, durable, and easy to refill.
  • MedELert Automatic Pill Dispenser: Contains 28 separate slots, each large enough to fit between 10 and 30 pills, depending on size. It can be programmed to release tablets between one and six times per day and will sound an alarm when it’s time. The compartments are locked at all other times, preventing any unwanted access by the patient and other people in the house. 
  • Hero Automatic Pill Dispenser: A stylish yet large automatic pill dispenser that looks like a premium coffee machine. You pay just under $100 to have it installed and are charged $29.99 per month thereafter. It connects to your Wi-Fi and dispenses medication when required, with multiple alarm settings, including a warning notification when the pills are running low. As a Hero customer, you’ll also have access to dedicated 24/7 customer support.