Forgets to refill prescriptions

  All Alzheimer's Symptoms

When it happens

Mild-stage dementia

Why it happens

Immediate memory is impaired. The person may not notice that a prescription has run out, or notices and then forgets to call in a refill, or forgets to pick up one that's been called in.

What you can do

  • Because medication mistakes are a classic early symptom of dementia, it's important to treat them as a warning sign to begin monitoring the person's medication use.

  • Check expiration dates on all meds and mark them in your calendar, allowing time to call in a refill. Or set up automatic refills.

  • Pick up prescriptions for the person or have them delivered to the home, if possible.

  • Use day-of-the-week pill dispensers so that it's obvious when prescriptions run out.

  • Make pill-taking part of the daily routine by linking it to another habit: the breakfast orange juice, or brushing teeth, for example.

  • Bring all prescription drugs, supplements, and other over-the-counter meds used regularly, in their original containers, to the next primary-care checkup. Ask for a drug review to assess whether each is still needed. The fewer meds taken, the fewer to be remembered (and the fewer possible side effects).