Pill Robot Medicates Mom and Pacifies the Family

It’s like having R2D2 take care of grandma: A monitored automatic pill dispenser (MAPD – Say “Mapdee”) is a table-top machine that gives out pills on a strict schedule and calls you on the telephone if the patient doesn’t get her dose on schedule.   It’s about the size of  a crockpot.

We got one for my mother-in-law who is over 90 and lives alone. “At first I didn’t think I was going to like it, but now I really do!” says Mom. She looks forward to hearing the pill robot’s cheerful “Time to take your medicine” alert, spoken in a female voice. She then presses a button and out comes one of the little containers of pills we loaded it up with at the beginning of the month.

She really thinks it’s grand. She loves telling people about it. Her eyes really light up and she chuckles as she talks about it. She can’t remember “monitored automatic pill dispenser.” She just calls it “my friend” or “the machine.” It has a place of honor in her home: Right next to the TV, the telephone and her favorite chair.

MAPDEE - Affectionate shorthand for Monitored Automatic Pill Dispenser

If she doesn’t press the button when she is asked to, the machine gets more insistent with her. It beeps and issues more verbal invitations She has 20 minutes to comply and then if she doesn’t, the machine tells on her. It has an automatic telephone dialer built it, and you plug a phone cord into the back of it. It places a telephone call to us and the robot voice tells us she didn’t take her meds. Then we call Mom and find out what’s going on.

The pills are not dispensed unless (a) she is due for a dose and (b) she presses the button. The idea is to avoid having unused pills piling up outside the machine. If too much time passes with a button press at the scheduled time, not only do we get a call, but the unused medication gets locked away inside the machine. It doesn’t want her to get a double dose by taking one dose very late and the next one on schedule, close behind.

We can also cram a little note in the pill container just to say “I love you” or “Have a nice day” or “Say hi to Mocha for us.” (Mocha is her cat). That makes it even more fun for her: Pill container as fortune cookie.

If the machine is running low on pill packets, it telephones us to remind us it needs reloading. Loading the pill containers and putting them into the machine is a monthly task for a human caregiver.

The pills are locked inside. Mom can’t get at them. We have the key.

Before Mapdee the pill robot moved in with Mom, she would often forget to take her pills or take them too often, because she would forget she had already taken them. We occasionally get calls from her saying the machine didn’t give her her pills, but it has always turns out that she is mistaken about that. She either forgets that she had taken them, or it isn’t time yet for the dose she is calling about. Mapdee’s brain works better than hers when it comes to minding the medication schedule. That’s why Mapdee has the pill dispensing responsibility now and Mom doesn’t anymore.

Mapdee has a battery backup. If the power goes out it keeps on working and telephones us to say the power has gone out at Mom’s house.

So, if we don’t hear from Mapdee, we know Mom is alive and well enough to push the pill button several times a day on schedule. We also know the power is on and we know Mapdee hasn’t run out of pills. That’s a lot of peace of mind. Of course, we call Mom often anyway. Mapdee takes the worry out of dispensing pills, so the calls can be more social, more relaxed and at convenient times.

If Mom presses the pill dispensing button before it’s time for her next dose, nothing comes out.

You can rent a Mapdee from Philips for about $75/month (that’s what we do and the state is paying for it) or buy one from Amazon for about $800. Read the reviews on Amazon by clicking the link below. People love this device. Note that it is a little different from the one we have so its features are not identical. For example, it has an alarm to signal the patient to take her pill, rather than a human voice; the pills are dispensed loose into a pill tray, not packaged; and the capacity is more like a week’s worth of pills rather than a month.

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Consider a Mapdee for an elder you love. It could extend their lives, extend the time they are able to continue living on their own, and give you, your family — and the elder you love — peace of mind.


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Product Description
Top-of-the-line Automatic Monitored Locked e-pill Medication Dispenser Dispense up to six (6) times per day. The e-pill MD2 PLUS (e-pill Monitored Pill Dispenser – FREE Monitoring for Life – 30 Day Money Back Guarantee) has been developed to give the patient’s caregiver peace of mind knowing that right medications are taken on time. When the alarm goes off, this e-pill Dispenser reminds the patient to take their medicine by sound (long alarm duration) and flashing light. Right pills at the right time; if the patient is late taking a dose, the e-pill MD2 PLUS phones (or can send E-MAIL or TEXT message) the caregiver after 60 minutes. This e-pill also notifies the caregiver when it is time for a refill. The Monitored e-pill MedSmart is a Locked Automatic Pill Dispenser with NO MONTHLY FEES. (Also available from Amazon in a non-monitored version 993019). Dispenses up to 6 times per day. Lockable pill dispenser keeps medications safe. 2 keys included. FREE Monitoring for life. Risk free purchase with our 30 Day Money Back Guarantee. Price includes complete system, everything you need. Needs access to phone jack. However, it does not need its own phone line. Top of the line e-pill Monitored Automatic Pill Dispenser (can only be sold in the USA and Canada).