Choosing the right automatic pill dispenser can be a difficult decision for seniors.
Automatic electronic pill dispensers can be incredibly helpful, providing seniors with a simple and straightforward way to house, manage, and dispense their medications on time.
However, it’s important for seniors to choose an automatic pill dispenser that suits their needs: if they have trouble reading small print, an electronic LED screen might be a necessity. If they need to take several large pills a day, they may want to opt for a dispenser with larger daily compartments.
In this article, we’ll help seniors choose the best automatic pill dispenser for their needs and examine some of the key factors to keep in mind when choosing between pill dispensers.
How Automatic Pill Dispensers Work
To use an automatic pill dispenser, first the senior or a caregiver will open the unit and put each day’s medication into the 28 or 30 compartments (one compartment for each day of the month).
You can then program the compartments to release the pills based on certain times of the day.
While the exact programming method varies depending on the unit, many devices use a ring-style setup that allows you to alter a circular panel to choose the time of day that the pills should be released.
When it’s time to take medication, the unit will set off an auditory alarm (and sometimes a visual one too) to indicate that it’s time to take the pills. The unit’s door will open and the senior then lifts up the unit and turns it over, after which the pill will pop right into their hand!
Questions to Ask When Choosing Between Electronic Pill Dispensers
How many days worth of medication do you want to organize? Pill organizers come with a varying number of compartments. Most feature 28 or 30 compartments to allow for 28 or 30 days worth of medication storage and alarm reminders, perfect for using and resetting each month!
Are there are other people living in the home? Many electronic pill dispensers include a manual lock that is needed to open the system and refill or access the entire pill collection. This is an especially important feature when there are several other individuals living in the home, such as children. It could be very dangerous for someone to take a senior’s medication by mistake.
Can the senior get help from a caregiver to set up the device? While electronic pill dispensers are incredibly simple once they are programmed, they might be confusing for a senior to set up on their own. Consider if a family member or caregiver can help organize and schedule the medications each month for the senior. Once the pill compartment filling and programming is set up, the senior should be all set for the month!
Features of Automatic Pill Dispensers
Look for visual and audio alarms. Many seniors prefer electronic pill dispensers that rely on both visual and audio alarms to remind them when it’s time to take their next dose. This helps eliminate concerns a senior with a hearing impairment may have about accidentally not hearing a medication alarm. Many of the alarms will go off for up to 15 or 30 minutes, so they aren’t easy to miss! Some more high-tech units will even send a notification alert to your phone or a loved one’s phone.
Locking mechanisms. A locking mechanism prevents the pill dispenser from being completely opened and altered with on a whim. When the dispenser must be opened, the included companion key must be used, otherwise, the device won’t open. This is important because it’ll ensure that your medication hasn’t been tampered with or accidentally exposed to children, pets, and other adults who might be tempted to handle your smart pill dispenser. This is an especially important feature for controlled substances or powerful pain relievers that may sometimes be sold as recreational drugs.
Service and warranty. Some units (especially more expensive ones) come with warranties that cover defects in materials and workmanship for up to one year.
Clear LCD Display. Most automatic pill dispensers have a clear LCD display on the outside that shows when your next pill alarm will go off, among other things. A large, clear display is essential for seniors with poor eyesight.
Simple Settings and Minimal Buttons. Opt for an electronic pill dispenser that’s easy to use with only a few buttons. If a device has too many buttons or tons of complicated settings, seniors may struggle with it and become frustrated while managing their medications.
Pill compartment capacity. Automatic pill dispensers come in different sizes with varying pill capacities for different-sized pills. If you take several large pills a day, make sure you’re choosing a pill dispenser that can adequately hold and manage several larger-sized pills.
Low battery alert. Some electric pill dispensers even have a low battery alert that notifies you when it’s time to replace the device’s batteries.
Best Automatic Pill Dispensers for Seniors
1. Med-E-Lert™ Premium Locking Automatic Pill Dispenser with Clear Lid
Do you have trouble remembering to take your medications? The Med-E-Lert™ is a mid-priced locking automatic pill dispenser that will notify seniors when it’s time for medication.
This pill dispenser features three loud alarm tones that can be set to go off at six different times of the day, plus it includes a bright, flashing red LED light.
The unit’s barrel key reduces the risk of theft, and the dispenser’s clear lid allows the user to see all the medications at their disposal and ensure they aren’t running low.
A low battery alert is also included in this device so there’s no need to worry about charging it up every night. Settings retentions are included as well, so you won’t have to re-program all your medication reminder times when you need to switch out batteries.
2. Monthly Pill Organizer by Ellie
Ellie is a premium, high-tech monthly pill organizer that uses hall effect sensors and machine learning to adjust pill notification alarms to your schedule, even if you take pills at different times on the weekends or on certain days.
Just slide open the rectangular pill tray and watch as LED lights indicate which compartments to take pills from. The lights will even indicate how many pills you need to take!
It’s easy to organize your pills in just seconds, receive notifications via a smartphone app when it’s time for you to take them, and keep track of your medication compliance over time. The organizer will even notify you when the pills are running low and need to refilled.
The Ellie can fit 30 days worth of pills, with each compartment able to hold a whole bottle of smaller-sized pills and up to seven larger pills.
For an added fee, you can also set up Ellie to send out caregiver notification alerts so that others can keep track on a senior’s medication compliance and talk to them if they’re regularly missing medication.
This pill dispenser also comes with a money-back guarantee, which allows you to try this tech-packed pill organizer, risk-free.
3. LiveFine Automatic Pill Dispenser with 28-Day Electronic Medication Organizer
The next product we’ll review is the Pill Organizer from LiveFine. This pill dispenser includes an electronic medication organizer, which makes it perfect for seniors who struggle with forgetting their daily medications or taking them at the wrong time of day.
With this pill dispenser, you can store up to 18 pills each per pill slot, with 28 slots to provide 28 days of pill management. The removable ring carousel makes it easy to load your pillbox with the necessary medications or vitamins.
The device is simple to set up and program thanks to its three-button interface, so it shouldn’t be too challenging to get started with managing your pills and setting up any number of the device’s alarms, which rely on the unit’s six dosage rings that can be set up to use up to six different time-based alarms each day!
Many appreciate the large, clear, easy-to-read LCD screen that displays the time, along with light-up alerts to indicate when it’s time to take prescription medications (the alarms will go off for up to 30 minutes). A lot of seniors like that this device displays audio as well as visual alarm alerts!
From there, the pill that needs to be taken is automatically aligned with the dispenser door. Then, you simply open the door, flip the unit upside down to get the allotted pill, and close the door. The alarm will automatically stop once the pills have been removed.
This pill dispenser also includes locking cover blocks and a key to prevent unauthorized access. This unit’s wireless battery-operated design is perfect for seniors who don’t have a lot of space and even allows it to be taken on the go for travel.
As a bonus, this pill dispenser also includes a built-in magnifier that allows you to better observe dosage information as needed.
4. Blucoil 28-Day Automatic Pill Dispenser
The Blucoil 28-Day Automatic Pill Dispenser is a product that offers up to 9 programmable alarms and a loud alarm reminder that makes sure you don’t forget to take your meds. The pill dispenser also has an LED light indicator that flashes alongside audio alarms to provide a visual indicator as well.
Settings can be customized via the unit’s four soft buttons and the device’s large LCD screen, allowing you to change the time format, alarm volume, and reminders.
The automatic pill dispenser accommodates both large and small pills, able to hold up to 35 adult 325mg aspirin tables within each of its individual 28 compartments. Pills are set and organized through the device’s removable automatic rotation tray, making it very easy to organize and set.
The Blucoil pill dispenser also features a dual safety locking system that prevents tampering. It also is battery-operated via four AA batteries, so you don’t need to worry about taking up wall outlet space.
5. e-Pill Station – Locked Automatic Pill Dispenser with Tipper Base
The e-Pill Station is a unique automatic pill dispenser in that it contains a tipper base that automatically pours and dispenses the medication into the companion cup.
The device offers 28 pill compartments for users to store up to 28 days worth of medications, with the option of using up to six daily alarms that can be configured for any time interval. The alarms function with both visual and audio cues!
The e-Pill Station also features a battery-operated design that will even alert you when the battery level is low and needs replacing. It also has solid security and comes equipped with two keys for locking.
What really sets this device apart though is the tipper and included stainless steel cup, eliminating the need to lift the device upside down to pour out the pills – all that is done automatically so that all the senior needs to do is pick up the cup and chug down those pills!
The tipper is especially handy for patients with limited mobility or tremors, as it makes the process of taking meds much easier and eliminates any risk of pill spills.
This pill dispenser also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year warranty.
Different Types of Pill and Medication Storage Options
- Type 1: Manual Pill Box. A pillbox is the simplest way to store your medications. These manual, non-electronic pillboxes require the user to open each day’s compartment and take the necessary pills. It’s simple and easy but doesn’t feature any kind of alarm reminder in case a senior forgets. If you’re interested in these lower-tech options, check out our full guide to pillbox pill organizers for seniors.
- Type 2: Electronic Pill Organizer & Dispenser. This is the type of pillbox we’ve detailed in this article. Electronic pill organizers can store and hold anywhere from a week to a month’s worth of medications. While some can be a bit tricky to set up initially, once they are programmed, they will remind the senior when it’s time to take their pills and will dispense the medication for them as well.
- Type 3: Pill Cutter + Compartment. The last type of pill storage methods is the type built-in to a pill cutter. Some pill cutter and splicer tools will also feature a holding compartment that can contain pills before or after they have been split. However, these compartments usually only hold a couple of pills, making them not suitable for regular medication organization.
As we age it becomes more difficult to remember our daily tasks and routines like taking medication at specific times each day. Automatic pill dispensers can safely help a senior keep track of medications and ensure they are taking the medicine they need to live a happy, healthy life (while not needing to stress about remembering their daily medications)!
Have you ever used any of the automatic electronic pill organizers detailed here? Which kind was your favorite? Share your experiences in the comments!
Last update on 2022-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API