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Medication Management and Assisted Living Facilities

by Zach Nigrelli on June 24, 2013

 Medication Dispensers can benefit those in Assisted Living

Smiling Senior CoupleAutonomy in decision-making is a value strongly upheld in modern American society.  “Contemporary U.S. society values the right of the individual to make choices about daily life. This strongly held cultural norm, and related values such as autonomy, independence, and self-determination, is founded on evidence that choice results in greater satisfaction.” (Carder, et al., 2009).  As such, the inability of an elderly individual to retain such autonomy and voluntarily submit to moving to an Assisted-Living facility (AL) remains an absolute worst-case scenario option that he or she will likely hope to avoid. “Problems managing medications have been identified as a major reason that older persons move into AL and as a major policy and practice topic for the industry.”  (Carder, et al., 2009).


The numbers regarding AL residents and medication numbers are indicative of the medication-related issues that lead elderly individuals to move such facilities. “AL residents take an average of 6.2 different medications, and 25% take nine or more. Considering that as many as 80%–90% of AL residents have some degree of cognitive impairment, the need for support in medication management is obvious.” (Carder, et al., 2009).


These numbers are unsurprising, since managing one’s medication can prove to be a monumental, multi-faceted undertaking.  “On the organizational level, medication management includes the many tasks involved in accessing, storing, administering, and documenting the use of prescribed medications.” (Carder, et al., 2009).  With such a range of issues involved in adhering to a medication regimen, it proves crucial for individuals to at time utilize assistance in the form of caretakers or technology in order to properly adhere to the regimen.


Indeed, the ability for an elderly individual to adhere to a medication regimen appears to be what separates those that can live independently from those forced to move to an AL facility.  “With higher acuity, many AL residents have multiple chronic health conditions, increasing the need for ongoing monitoring and management. Core values in AL include choice, privacy, independence, and the potential to age in place.” (Young, et al., 2008).


The benefits AL’s provide are clearly tailored to provide aid and security for elderly individuals that so require them. “Although ALs cost less and provide less-institutional environments, these elements are offset by less professional oversight and the potential risk for negative health outcomes because of the need for more intensive health monitoring. A critical issue in AL is striking the appropriate balance between freedoms and risks for residents, staff, and the settings themselves.” (Young, et al., 2008).


Here at Automated Security Alert, we understand the intrinsic desire for elderly individuals to remain autonomous and living independently for as long as possible.  Ergo, we have designed a number of products that can facilitate independent-living for individuals, even those on a complex, multi-faceted medication regimen and suffering from chronic disease.  For more information about products such as the MedPro Pill Organizer, which can equip individuals to better understand and adhere to a medication regimen by organizing pills and reminding patients when they need to be taken electronically, please visit our product page at


Works Cited

Carder, P. C., Zimmerman, S., & Schumacher, J. G. (2009). Understanding the intersection of individual needs and choices with organizational practices: The case of medication management in assisted living. The Gerontologist, 49(4), 463-473. 

Young, H. M., Gray, S. L., McCormick, W. C., Sikma, S. K., Reinhard, S., Johnson Trippett, L., … & Allen, T. (2008). Types, prevalence, and potential clinical significance of medication administration errors in assisted living. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 56(7), 1199-1205.


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