Author photo

By Lana Bell
For Senior Voice 

Promise yourself to take medicine as directed

Alaska Med Ed


In my last column, I’m going to invite you to take a pledge.

The goal for this year of columns was to share that it’s harder than it looks to take medicine correctly (75 percent of Americans don’t), and to give you tips and tools to avoid common pitfalls. Why? So you can safeguard your health. Not taking medicine as directed leads to more than one in three medicine-related hospitalizations and nearly 125,000 deaths each year.

Now, we all know that no matter how much water you put in front of a horse, the horse isn’t going to drink if it’s not thirsty. I’ve given you a lot of information about how to cope with common medicine problems, but I doubt you’re interested unless you see that you can use it to get a result you care about.

What motivates you to take care of yourself? What would motivate you to take a new action or two to take your medicine correctly?

Maybe you want to attend your grandchild’s graduation, or be around to enjoy more time with your spouse or an old friend.

Maybe you want the peace of mind and sense of being responsible that comes from not driving after taking medicine that makes you drowsy.

Maybe you want to do your first triathlon, keep gardening or volunteering, or just see another spring.

Make it official. Do you not fill prescriptions because of the cost? Do you forget to take all your pills or tell your provider about other medications you take? You can find tips on coping with these problems and more in my past columns on Write down a step you’re going to take, and why. This is your pledge to yourself.

Why write it down? Individuals with clear, written goals are much more likely to succeed than those without, according to the Harvard Initiative for Learning & Teaching.

You can find a pledge template online at (click on Take a Med Ed class, then on 6. Making a personal plan) or,

or you can make your own. Heck, you can write it on a sticky note and put it on the fridge. Whatever works for you!

Take good care, Lana

You can still request goodies

This may be my last column, but you can still email us at if you have a question for me or if you’d like to request a printed pledge form, a pill dispenser, wallet-medication list, or magnifying glass. Happy trails!

Lana Bell is a state pharmacist with the Alaska Pioneers’ Homes.


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