Do you find yourself trying to remember if you took your medication this morning? Or worried that your older parent or loved one forgets to take theirs? If so, installing an app to help manage medications might be just the right fit for you!
Getting a reminder about which medications you or a person in your care need to take is really helpful, especially for people who take medication every day or multiple times per day!
Apps can be beneficial in planning, organizing, and implementing a task. That’s why we’re looking at some of the best apps for older adults to manage their medications and supplements.
Keep reading to find out our picks of some of the best apps for older adults to manage their medications daily.
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Why get a reminder app just for medications?
A pill reminder app notifies a person and, in some cases, designated family members or caregivers when a person needs to take a specific medicine.
As someone who uses a phone and watch alarm to remind me to take my vitamins and medicines, I could undoubtedly find a super efficient app to get the job done. And as someone with aging parents, I can imagine how even more beneficial a medication management app could be for them.
With increasingly older adults embracing this tech-savvy era, it makes sense that incorporating an app into their daily routine could help them manage their medications.
This could also reduce the risk of them forgetting to take some very important or needed medications.
The positive impact of tracking vitamins, supplements, and medications for seniors and everyone else!
Helping an older parent, family member, friend, or client track their necessary medications is essential to any daily routine.
While we all endured quarantine and various isolation periods, I can only imagine the isolation felt in older adults who were suddenly cut off from all family and other social interaction – including regular medical checkups, daily assistance, and help from friends and family, or even picking up their prescriptions!
An insightful article by Leslie Kernisan, MD, MPH, explains why using an app like a medication reminder app or another technology can be extremely helpful for monitoring an older adult’s daily medications or other supplements.
She provides several points to consider when educating caregivers:
- Maintain an accurate/current list of all prescribed medications for the person in your care.
- Keep track of which medications that person takes regularly/daily. Also, track how often a person takes “as need” medications.
- Consider additional measures/reminders to help cognitively impaired adults remember to take their medications.
- Make it easy for families to check in and maintain current prescriptions. And make it easy for families to share information with medical providers and other caregivers.
If you can find an app that helps to do all of this (or even covers some of these points), consider that a win.
Preventing medication non-adherence and polypharmacy in seniors is critically important
Outside of knowing what medicines your loved one or person in your care needs regularly, you also want to ensure they take that medication as prescribed and that they aren’t taking too many medicines.
Not taking your prescribed medicines is officially called medication non-adherence or low adherence. And it can be very dangerous for everyone but especially for seniors who are more likely to have chronic conditions needing daily medication to manage those diseases.
One important consequence of using medication reminder apps is to hopefully improve medication adherence.
Medication non-adherence and low adherence can lead to worsening disease, increased health care costs, and even death.
According to the CDC, in a study called Attitudes, Beliefs, and Cost-Related Medication Nonadherence Among Adults Aged 65 or Older With Chronic Diseases:
medication nonadherence is a persistent public health issue that can influence the management of chronic conditions, especially among older adults (aged 65+), who are more likely to bear a greater disease burden than their younger counterparts.
Making sure your loved one, friend, or client takes their medicine daily or as prescribed is particularly important for older adults who live independently, without routine medical supervision.
Why non-adherence is common in older populations
The reasons for seniors not taking medicine range from not understanding why they need to take their medications to not being able to afford them.
Whether because of financial burden, inaccessibility, or plain forgetfulness, apps like those on our list can help individuals, families, caregivers, and medical care teams during a difficult time when regular contact and assistance are not always feasible.
An additional journal article titled “15 Smartphone Apps for Older Adults to Use While in Isolation During the COVID-19 Pandemic” by Banskota, Healy, and Goldberg (2020) detailed how various smartphone apps were helpful for older adults while in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regarding medication-related apps, the Banskota, Healy, and Goldberg study highlights GoodRx and Medisafe.
- GoodRx provides discounts on certain medications to help with financial strain and includes price comparisons to help find the lowest drug price in your area.
- Medisafe is a management platform that compiles all medical and health information in one place. It also provides medication reminders, drug interaction charts, refill alerts, and much more.
You’ll likely see that if you can find helpful apps for older adults to manage their medications, the daily stress of ensuring they take the right pills at the right time is, hopefully, reduced.
The dangers of taking too many drugs (polypharmacy)
Another issue, especially seen in older populations, is polypharmacy–where a loved one may be taking too many drugs. This can be be dangerous, especially for older adults who may have multiple chronic conditions.
Medication apps, like the ones on our list, can help you get a better understanding of the medicines your loved one takes. And help you have conversations with their healthcare teams to make sure that your loved adults take only those medicines they need.
Our best apps for older adults to manage their medications and supplements
Today, we look at eight of the best pill reminder apps currently available for Apple and Android devices. And hopefully, we help you and your family figure out the best app for you.
Pill reminder apps play an important role in making sure that the person in your care takes their medicine each day and at the right time.
This list reviews the best third-party apps that work on Apple and Android devices.
Before we go to our list, if your loved one or client uses Apple devices, there is an all-new Apple-designed Medications app for Apple Watch and a new medications feature within the Apple Health app for iPhone.
It’s another great and free Apple resource that helps families manage everyone’s health! The only caveat is that to access this awesome feature, your iPhone needs to run iOS 16+, and if you have an Apple Watch, it must run watchOS 9+.
This new app and Health app feature helps manage and track medications, vitamins, and supplements. You can even set up a medication list, a schedule of when to take medicine, and set up medication reminders that go to the watch or iPhone just before a prescription must be taken.
Another nice thing about Apple’s Medications feature is that it identifies potential critical interactions with medications on your list and even sends you an alert (this interactions feature currently works in the US, with more countries coming soon.)
To learn more about Apple’s new Medications app and feature, see this article: Set up medication reminders on your Apple Watch and iPhone with the Health app.
Now, let’s get to those awesome medication apps for seniors!
The MediSafe app is our favorite pick overall. It is a straightforward yet extremely comprehensive prescription management tool for individuals and caregivers.
Described as a “virtual pillbox,” the app will send reminders to take medications, warning for drug interactions, and even let you know when it’s time to refill your prescriptions.
There’s also an option to send notifications to caregivers to keep everybody in the loop when needed.
The app is available for iOS and Android, offering a free version.
The premium version for Apple iOS is $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year. For Android, the premium app is $2.99 a month or $39.99 a year.
- Allows people to add multiple users to one account so you can share app information with family and caregivers
- Can send notifications to caregivers about when you need to refill your prescriptions
- Users have access to coupons and discounts through thousands of pharmacies
- Alerts for drug interaction warnings and medication side effects
- The app is HIPAA-compliant to keep patient info secure
- An unlimited number of medication reminders
- You can add notifications about upcoming medical appointments
- Syncs with the Apple Health app and Google Fit
- Requires some in-app purchases for full features
iOS users unite! This app is for you.
RoundHealth is a simple but handy app to help remind individuals to take their medications.
As a user of RoundHealth, you can select your specific medications or supplements from an extensive drop-down list. Once you choose your particular medications, you can input your dose to ensure that the alerts remind you to take the right amount in the future.
Asks you 3 times if you’ve taken your medication!
Another great feature of this app is the ability to set persistent notification “windows.” You are given three subtle notifications at the start, middle, and end of the notification window.
This ensures that if you miss the first alert, you’ll be notified two more times. This ultimately guarantees medication adherence.
If you are already an iPhone user, we think this is one of the best apps for older adults to manage their medications using an iOS system.
One thing to note is that although this app works great, it is no longer updated or supported. Round Health became part of Alto Pharmacy and its app, which also has a pill reminder component, although its main business is same-day prescription delivery.
- Free with no ads!
- It allows you to sync the app with an Apple Watch for notifications
- Multiple reminders within a set window
- Refill reminders
- Users are not required to create an account with RoundHealth
- Can add custom names for things like supplements and vitamins
- To date, this app is only available for iOS
- No option to skip doses
- No setup option for medication that you need to take hourly or every few hours
- It does not sync with the Apple Health app
- App support has stopped, and the app is no longer updated (but it still works great)
The CareClinic app is slightly different from some of the others we discussed. This app focuses more on vitamin and mineral intake than prescription medications.
Most of us are likely lacking in one nutrient or another due to our diets. Long-term nutrient deficiency can lead to a variety of negative effects.
Using CareClinc’s vitamins and nutrient log tracker, you can keep tabs on your macronutrient and micronutrient levels.
This, in turn, could provide greater insight into adjusting your diet to improve your nutrient intake and, therefore, your overall health.
Go beyond tracking your vitamins and nutrients, and don’t forget to take advantage of CareClinic’s health diary. Here you can document a wealth of information about what you are eating, how you feel, and your goals to improve your nutrient intake.
The app is available for both iOS and Android. It offers a free basic version that includes the pill reminder and a premium version which costs $9.99/month, $39.99/6-months, or $59.99/year.
- Unique in the sent that it focuses on vitamins and nutrients where most other apps don’t
- It takes into account your diet and overall health
- Add medication in with just a photo of the label
- Manage your whole family’s care with one account
- Built-in drug and supplement reference library
- Integrates and syncs with the Apple Health app and Google Fit
- More restrictive in providing customizable alerts
- Many of its features are for premium subscribers only
The MyTherapy app is one of the best apps for older adults to manage their medications if their native language is not English.
The app is available in 30 languages! Some of these include Spanish, Korean, Japanese, and Italian (among others).
Ultimately this app helps its users set up medication reminders. You can input your medications manually or by scanning the barcodes of your prescriptions.
A team feature also sends alerts to designated family members or caregivers if a medication is missed.
In addition to providing medication alerts, users can track other metrics such as weight, blood pressure, exercise, and more.
The app is free and available for iOS and Android, with no ads!
- MyTherapy is ad-free and free to use for life
- Accessible in 30 languages
- Team feature ensures medication adherence by notifying family members
- Injection site tracking and track any high-complexity dosing schemes
- Tracks any skipped medication times
- Refill reminders
- A comprehensive app that tracks more than just medication management
- The database includes prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Share your printable health report with your healthcare providers
- Works with iOS VoiceOver technology
- No drug interaction warnings
- It does not sync with the Apple Health app or Google Fit
DoseCast features personalized notifications for medication adherence. The free version includes these notifications and the ability to record customized dosages and keep notes about your feelings.
One remarkable thing about DoseCast is that you don’t need to set up an account or enter any of your personal information to use it!
The paid version ($2.99 monthly or $27.99 annually) is even more comprehensive. Users can sync the app and its reminders across various Apple, Android, and Amazon devices.
This pro version also tracks the need for refills and notifies you when it’s time to contact your pharmacy.
- Available in multiple languages
- Options to postpone or skip a dose and track any missed doses
- Can follow interval dosing, such as hourly
- No account registration is required to use the app–no personal information is needed
- Compatible with just about every smart device
- Your info is encrypted within the app, ensuring advanced security
- Does require a subscription for pro features, including family and caretaker sharing and refill reminders
- No integration or syncing with Apple Health, Google Fit, or Samsung Health
Pill Reminder is a highly customizable and efficient app for reminding you to take your medications.
Perhaps you have a medication you take once a day, then another one three times per day, and finally one you take every two weeks.
This app makes it easy to set customized alerts, no matter the time or recurring frequency.
Another unique feature of this app is the ability to generate email reports and send them to your medical provider.
This app comes highly rated online, and it’s easy to see why we think it’s one of the best apps for older adults to manage their medications.
- A feature-rich app that encompasses all things medication management
- Allows multiple users for caregivers to monitor an account
- Interval dosing supported, i.e., every hour or few hours
- Can mark medications missed/skipped
- Refill reminders
- Search the FDA Drug Database for your medications (the US only)
- Email reports to your healthcare team
- The paid version is a one-time payment. No monthly or annual subscription
- VoiceOver accessibility support
- Backup and restore all data on the same device or multiple devices
- The free plan offers only two medication reminders. Need to purchase the app for unlimited reminders
- A paid version (1.99) is required to access all features
Other medication management tools
We thought we’d also provide a quick list of other resources that may be helpful for older adults who are looking to manage their medications better.
Though these aren’t apps, they’ve all been deemed super helpful when it comes to ordering, organizing, and taking daily medications.
- A handheld timer designed to beep when its time to take your medications
- Easily fit it into a jacket pocket or purse with its small design
- Receive dosed-out medications straight to your doorstep
- Just for the printed instructions about each drug, but avoid the hassle of having to organize them yourself
- A combined pill dispenser and alert system that notifies you when and what medications to take
- It runs on its cellular connection, so no smartphone or WiFi is required
- The designated pill compartment can also be locked until it is time to take that particular medication
We hope you found this article helpful in highlighting why it’s important to adhere to your medications and what tools and apps you can use to help get the job done.