Free Medicare Program and “When to Take All Those Pills” (NY Times, 12-18-15)

I’m in Arizona with my mother (who takes one medication) and her husband (who takes 18 medications for various chronic conditions). I’ve been investigating all kinds of things such as medication management and Medicaid eligibility. Oh, the joys of getting older…

This recent New York Times makes several relevant (to my family’s situation) and useful points, including:

  1. It’s easier to adhere to a medication regimen if you take fewer doses per day. Yet, in one study, only 15% of the participants figured this out when they had to come up with a medication schedule for seven medications.
  2. Medications can appear ineffective if not taken according to their prescribed schedule.
  3. There are several reasons why people do not adhere to their medication regimen. Complexity or confusion is one; the dosing schedules are hard to figure out. Cost is another. Cognitive impairment is a third. And medications can have the same color, size, and shape.
  4. Those using a Medicare Part D drug plan might ask their prescription drug plan provider if a free Medication Therapy Management program is available. You can read about the MTM program on Medicare’s website at

The New York Times article is here:

The New Old Age
New York Times
A Prescription for Confusion: When to Take All Those Pills
by Paula Span
December 18, 2015