The American Red Cross and Senior Safety: Part II

In a recent post I shared with you information that I had received from my local Red Cross representative about their alliance and partnership with Philips Lifeline.  I wrote in that post about the Medical Alert Service that helps keep seniors safe in their homes by allowing them to call for emergency help with the push of a button or have help summoned for them in the event that they fall and cannot call from themselves.

While that product was familiar to me, I was unaware of how the Red Cross will assist families with obtaining and setting up the system to assure that it is properly connected and functioning.

There was, however, another product that I was not familiar with but appears to be a fabulous service:  that is Philips Medication Dispensing Service.

Philips indicates that 1 out of 10 hospital admissions are the direct result of medication errors.  These can be errors of omission (medications that have not been taken as prescribed), taking more or less than the prescribed dose of a medication or taking pills at the wrong time.

There are a variety of reasons for theses medication mistakes.  The top 6 reasons for these potentially deadly errors are:  Poor Vision (can’t read the labels to see what is being taken), Memory Loss (forgetting to take a medication or forgetting that it was taken and taking it again), Income (can’t afford the medication so they go without or cut back on the dose), Swallowing Problems (the senior crushes or chews a medication that is meant to be extended release getting too large of a dose at one time), Hearing Problems (can’t hear the doctors instructions about the medication), and Social Isolation (seniors living alone more often fail to comply with their medication regimens).

Added to this list of potential problems: the fact that many seniors see multiple doctors which tends to increase the number of medications that they take and the use of over the counter medications which seniors believe are ‘safe’ to take.  Add it all together and you could have a real problem on your hands!

Medication errors can lead to poor disease management, increased discomfort, inadequate disease prevention and even death.

The Red Cross and Philips Lifeline also offer a Medication Dispensing Service that may be helpful in certain circumstances.  It helps a senior to take the correct medications at the correct time and in the proper dose.  The dispenser is loaded by the senior or a caregiver (the Red Cross will provide some training assistance and Lifeline will help with scheduling dose times).  The doses are in individual cups which are loaded into the dispenser.  The dispenser reminds the senior to take the medication at the proper time.  With the push of a button the medication is dispensed.  If the dose is missed, the dispenser can contact a family member or caregiver by phone to notify them that the medication dose has been missed allowing the contact person to check on the senior.

Having multiple medications can become overwhelming for a senior.  Not only that, but the bottles can be hard to read and difficult to open.  By using a pill box or a medication dispensing system you can help your loved one to eliminate some of these challenges and provide a safer option for medication compliance.

If you feel that medication errors are a potential problem for your loved one, contact your local Red Cross or Philips Lifeline to get more information about this product.

Senior safety is always a primary concern.  Protect those you love from the unintended problems related to medication errors!

On the journey with you…….Kathy

Kathy Eynon is an Eldercare Coach and Consultant that works with those struggling to cope with the demands of caring for an aging parent.  She can be reached by email at: or visit her website:  Parent Care Alliance.


2 responses to “The American Red Cross and Senior Safety: Part II

  1. Kathy, thank you so much for this information. I didn’t realize that the Red Cross would help with the life line program. What a valuable resource! I will check it out for my Seniors here in California.
    Janice King, CMC, Geriatric Care Manager.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s