Technology for Managing Medication in Dementia

By:  Richard Caro   |  Posted: March 26, 2016   |  Updated: March 22, 2023


Dr. Mindy Renfro and Dr. Richard Caro gave a joint talk on “Technology for Managing Medication in Alzheimer’s Disease” at the 2016 American Society on Aging meeting (March 22, 2016).

Below is a video of the talks.



The talk is in two parts. In the first part, Dr. Mindy Renfro discusses the clinical aspects of managing medication and the problems that arise in managing medication at home for patients with dementia. She talks about Assistive Technology, the stages of Alzheimer’s, and the various aspects of medication management that can cause problems.

In the second part, Dr. Caro talks about various existing technology solutions to some aspects of medication management, and identifies some areas of “opportunity”. These areas of “opportunity” represent problems to do with managing medication that lend themselves to a technical solution,  for which as yet a good product has not been created.

Throughout the talks, the emphasis is on technology for managing medication for dementia patients. For a broader discussion of medication management in general, including pill reminders, pill organizers, pill boxes, and complex medication management systems and pill dispensers, see our Medication Management Topic Hub.


Play the two videos below to listen to the talks and see the slides.


I: Managing Medication in Dementia, by Dr. Renfro


Medication Management Challenges Impact Ability to Live Independently

One of the striking aspects of Dr. Renfro’s talk, was a slide in which she showed the six major reasons why people end up having to move into some type of institutional care (assisted living for example). Challenges with managing medicine and adhering to the right drug regimen was one of the six major reasons preventing people from continuing to live independently, according to Dr. Renfro’s analysis of the research literature.

In Dr. Caro’s talk, he built on this point, and explained how there are emerging technological solutions to most of these six factors, and went on to talk about potential ways in which technology could be applied to medication management routines for dementia patients in ways that could potentially reduce the level of hands-on care they need — potentially postponing the time at which they need to leave home.



II: Technology Opportunities in Managing Medication,  by Dr. Caro


Unmet Needs in Managing Medication

In this talk, Dr. Caro describes a chain of important medication management tasks, and discusses technology that exists for each portion of this chain. He also describes the potential for new products and talks about the profound impact these could make if successful.

The sections of this talk include:

  • Making sure the older adult gets the “right” prescriptions in the first place;
  • Making sure the “right” prescriptions make it home;
  • Getting the prescriptions filled correctly at the right time;
  • Motivating the person to want to take the correct medication at the correct time;
  • Reducing physical and mental obstacles to medication adherence; and
  • The importance of some type of feedback loop to reinforce the desired adherence.


Want More Like This?


Visit our Medication Management Topic Hub.


Related Tech-enhanced Life Research and Explorations


Medication Management Systems

For an in depth overview of the different types of medication management systems, ranging from simple pill organizers to complicated automatic pill dispensers read:


Pill Reminders

If you are looking for a good way to be reminded when it is time to take your pills or other medication, read:


Need a Pill Box or Pill Organizer?

See which Pill Boxes and Organizers our Longevity Explorers recommend.








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