April, 2013

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How Do I Manage My Medications?

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Why Do I Need to Manage Medications?

When you take more than a couple medications, errors can easily happen. This can range from missing a dose to overdose. Managing your medication effectively can help reduce potentially fatal errors. Use one pharmacy to dispense all medications so can monitor unsafe interactions.

How Do I Manage My Medications?

The key to successfully managing your medications is through organization. These organization tips will help ensure your medications are taken safely andon time.

1. Choose a pharmacy and stick with that one.

When you use one pharmacy to dispense all medications, the computer system can easily monitor unsafe interactions. Doctors are fallible just like anyone else. Why not have a check and balance system in place?

2. Use a Daily Pill Organizer

Better yet use two. Have one in use and one you can “build” before the other runs out.

pill organizer can be very helpful if you take many types of medications each day. It has seven or more compartments that hold each day’s worth of medication.

To ensure medication is taken on a timely basis, keep a dosage schedule (see #4) nearby that also includes a physical description of each pill, such as “blue capsule” or “large white pill.”




3. Keep a List of All Your Current Medications

Make a list of all medications you take, with the name, dosage, frequency, side effects, and whether the medication has been stopped. Also include any allergies you have to medications.

Make several copies and give them to doctors at appointments and to your pharmacist. Keep a copy stored on your computer so you can add to it if prescribed new medications, and print out more copies as needed.

I’ve created a Medication List that you can download here.


4. Create a Dosing Schedule Chart

Dosing Schedule Chart is simply a chart of the medications you take on a weekly basis with boxes you can physically mark off each day. You will see at a glance what you have missed.

This can also be done on your computer with a spreadsheet or word processing program. List all medications, what they look like, the times they need to be taken, and a space by each dose, so you can check off when each is taken.

If all your meds fit neatly into a pill organizer, you can delete this step. Some meds (like eye drops) are harder to keep track of and require a reminder!

For those meds that are given “as needed,” you may also want to include why it is taken. This can be annotated as “for nausea” or for whatever reason the medication is needed. If you have medications that require refrigeration, also note it.


5. Check Prescription Labels Often

When looking at a prescription label, check the expiration date and refill information. Properly discard old medication. When running low on a medication that has a refill, call your pharmacist before you run out. This way you will not miss any doses.

If you think you may need a refill on a medication that has none left, call your doctor’s office as soon as possible to allow time for the doctor to call the pharmacist.


6. Use a Pill Reminder Gadget (optional)

There are several electronic pill reminders on the market of varying prices. You can input the name of the medication, how often you need to take it, and if you need to take it with food.

An alarm will sound, much like an alarm clock or cell phone ringer, alerting you to what medication needs to be taken and how much. There are now electronic pill reminders that “talk,” relaying information verbally.

Does this list make you want to hide your head in the sand? I understand. Here is your Quick Start Guide:

  • Adhere to the ONE pharmacy rule, please!
  • Then, get a friend or family member to hold you accountable to at least complete your list of medications (# 3).
  • Once you have that done, look for a pill reminder that has AM/PM dividers and each day’s meds are removable for travel.

You will be well on your way to managing your medications responsibly!

Go for the Jugular to Defeat Paper

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Recently at a client’s house, a 2 ½ hour project stretched to 4 hours. Why? There were several hidden bins of paper she had to deal with.

conservative estimate of time needed to de-clutter paper is 1 hour per foot of piled paper.
We all suffer from excess paperitis (that’s a technical term). So I’d like to skip the question, “How long should I keep…” and go straight for the jugular

How soon can I shred the durn thing?


Let’s go looking for paper to shred! Yeah!

A good shredding program will have both an ongoing, everyday component and periodic components – both monthly and yearly. I like the way Ohio Mobile Shredding breaks this down into six categories:


Shred everyday -

  • Credit card applications. (Better yet opt out to not receive offers!)
  • Any piece of unwanted paper that contains: account numbers, birth dates, drivers’ license numbers, passwords, signatures, social security numbers… anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable having a stranger read.

Note: In this information age, I think shredding anything with your address on it is overkill. If you own a house in Franklin County, Ohio, I can not only find your address on the Auditor’s website, but can tell you what your home’s square footage is and how much you paid for it.


Shred Monthly - Choose a date and schedule an appointment on your calendar.

  • Credit card and debit receipts after reconciling with credit card statement unless needed for tax purposes or warranties.

Shred Yearly - during or just after tax preparation, all statements not needed as tax support documents

  • Monthly bank, retirement and investment account statements after reconciled with year-end statement.
  • Pay stubs after reconciling with annual W-2 statement or 1099 equivalents.

Shred on a Seven-Year or Ten-Year Basis - File with that year’s tax docs and shred at same time

  • Year-end bank statements (if not necessary for tax purposes)
  • Titles, deeds, and surveys to cars and property you haven’t owned in seven years.
  • Tax support documents over 10 years old (not 1040 forms or W-2′s!)

Never Shred - store in a fire/water – proof box

  • Vital personal documents such as marriage, birth, divorce and death certificates
  • Legal documents such as wills, Powers of Attorney
  • Loan and mortgage paid-in-full documentation

Never Shred Until They Expire - remove and replace with current

  • Titles, deeds and surveys to cars and property you currently own (shred 7 years after you get rid of property)
  • Current personal credit history report
  • Benefits package from current employer


As I said, this is an overview of Ohio Mobile’s suggestions just to get your shredding juices flowing. Please print the entire pdf  When to Shred Documents for more detail.
Then go for the jugular, shred often, and don’t let paper defeat your plans for a simple and satisfying life.