Let’s play the memory game! We’re gonna list 5 items now, let’s see how many you remember by the end of the post 😎
Can I skip my meds?
First thing first (and you probably know this already) you shouldn’t be skipping your medication. There’s lots of evidence to support this but basically your medication lasts a few hours in your body, before your body gets rid of it. In fact your body is supposed to get rid of it once your pill has done its job.
So every time you take a pill you can think of it as a top up. This makes sure you have enough medication in your body to do the job the pill is supposed to do.
How to remember to take my medication
If you are like me, you probably forget a lot of things – we need to make sure your medicine is not one of them. We asked a few family members and patients at a medical practice in Mpumalanga and got some pretty cool ideas on how they remember their medication:
1) Make a routine
You can thank my little sister for this one, every time she leaves the house she sings a song – Phone wallet keys, phone, phone, wallet keys 🎶🎧
She’s basically created a routine for herself around leaving the house and she does this every day. So make a routine of your medication and a silly song will probably help.
2) Interesting alarms
Keeping with the theme of music, we thought this one was super cool. Set a morning alarm for yourself – but use a song containing the word medicine. How cool is that?
We liked it so much we are creating a playlist of cool songs that contain the word medicine, check it out!
3) Visual Cues
There are certain things in life that are really difficult to forget, like your car keys – you really can’t get to work without them. Or even brushing your teeth (because of how hard mom worked to make you remember). Sleep is even a good one, stuff you put at your bedside is pretty important.
This creates a really good opportunity for you to remind yourself to take your medication by placing your pills in areas where you do these things
Pairing your medication with tasks you perform everyday is a great way to remember.
4) Have an Alibi
Ok so where were you last week Thursday at 19h00?
Not easy to remember huh… unless you were doing something really specific. This is where we can use Science to our advantage. Doing something strange or specific whilst you take your meds can create an anchor in your memory for you to track.
You may not remember that you took your meds, but you’ll definitely remember that strange thing you did, and then that will remind you.
Trust us, this is science!
5) Family Support
There is absolutely no reason why your little brother should escape family duty! If you have friends or family that you feel safe with and can trust, then rope them in, two heads are always better than one.
6) Let’s go digital
We are in the age of some pretty cool tech, so why not make it work for you. Take out your phone and grab a reminder app. Now there are tons of reminder apps out there – but here goes our shameless plug:
We have created an app that does reminders but also does so much more. We tried to make it as simple and useful as possible – and we think its pretty cool. Why not give it a try 😉
7) What’s in the box?
A good old pillbox is not a bad idea. You can group your meds and then track them day by day. This makes remembering super easy.
Pro tip: if you pair this one with the one about visual cues then you really have a strong chance of remembering.
8) Life can be upside-down
The upside down guide to remembering medication is actually pretty genius.
It does require you to remember twice in a day though.. when the medication bottle is upright then it’s time for dose 1.
When you take the dose flip the bottle. Seeing the bottle upside down will remind you that you have taken dose 1 and should prepare to take dose 2.
If you forget dose 1, seeing the bottle facing the right way up will remind you to take your meds.
9) Reward yourself
You’re gonna like this one. Pick your favourite thing, now you’re only allowed to have that thing if you take your meds consistently. It’s a good way to micromanage developing good habits. If you need any ideas on how to reward yourself – check out this article.
10) A real calendar
There is something satisfying about crossing a completed task off your list. Why not get the same kick out of crossing a day off the calendar when you take your medication. This method is really simple and really satisfying – try not to break the chain, cross out each day without skipping one.
Some Bonus Ideas
Try not to run out of medication
It goes without saying that you can’t take your medication if you have run out of it. Keep a close eye on how much you have left and plan when to get a refill. This is a good one to automate – life get’s so busy that you may end up with one tablet left before you realise you need more.
Set an alarm the day you get your medication or a calendar invite. Make sure to get that refill (btw – Memo can help here too)
Try to keep meds with you
Much like the previous point – you can’t take meds if you don’t have them with you, what happens if you travel? Before any big trip, or even going to work, make sure that you carry your meds with you. I f it’s safe to do so, why not leave meds in your car or office cabinet? This way if you forget to take them before you head out – you have a secret stash you can use.
Why are you doing this
It’s so important to pair doing something with understanding why you are doing it. Knowing that this pill is for your blood pressure, and that if you don’t take it you could have a stroke is empowerment.
We encourage you to get involved in your own health. Take ownership of it and manage it well. You will thank us later.
Finishing: The Memory Game
Right so quick check – how many of the items did you remember? (Don’t cheat!) Here they are again:
See, remembering things is not easy, try some of the tools we have provided to step up your memory game. Your health is extremely important, treat it that way.