Assisted Living•Health and Care Needs
Lower the Cost of Assisted Living and Care Fees for Medication Management
Keep in mind that senior living communities and assisted living communities may have different requirements regarding medications based on their state licensing department for assisted living facilities.
Help with medication is considered one of many assisted living services offered to assisted living residents.
Personal care services are what define assisted living. If you require medication or personal care assistance, you would no longer be considered an independent living resident. Instead, you would be in assisted living. This change in the care category will drive up your monthly living cost.
Questions to ask yourself: If you or your aging senior answers "yes" to any of the following, the senior living community or assisted living facility may require that they manage your medications.
- I forget to take my medication often.
- I have forgotten to take my medication a few times.
- I need help or oversight when taking medications.
- I have medications that have to be administered by someone or a nurse.
- A family member or friend calls and reminds me to take my medications.
- I forget to refill my prescriptions in time.
- I have family or friends make an in-person visit to organize my daily pill organizer.
- I have other family members or friends manage my prescription refill requests.
- I have difficulty reading or seeing the label of the bottle.
- I've had medical emergencies and had to go to the emergency room or seek medical care in a doctor's office because I mismanaged my medications.
- I've been hospitalized because I didn't manage my medications correctly.
- My hands shake, and I spill my pillbox.
- I take multiple medications and have difficulty keeping track
- I don’t know the names of some or all of my medications.
- I can’t tell you the dosage of some or all of my medications.
- I can’t tell you why I take some or all of my medications.
If you answered yes to any of the daily living questions above, salad or bubble packaging might be a good option for you to consider.
This packaging can help you keep track of your medications, avoid emergency room visits, and lower your assisted living costs. Talk to your doctor or pharmacy about this option if it may help.
SOLUTION: Talk to your doctor or pharmacy about putting your prescriptions into weekly or monthly salad prescription packaging, also known as bubble prescription packaging. Look for a compounding pharmacy in your area.
There are many benefits to using salad or bubble prescription packaging. Here are ten advantages to switching to a salad or bubble packaging.
- Lower costs associated with assisted living and medication management
- Helping your senior to remain as independent as possible
- Simplifying your daily or weekly routines
- Your pharmacist will update and reorder medications as prescribed by your doctor.
- Many insurances, including Medicare & Medicaid programs, will cover most of the expense of this unique packaging.
- You will no longer need to organize your pills, saving valuable time.
- It’s easy to see if a dose of any medication has been missed, which keeps your health secure.
- You can be confident in knowing the pharmacist correctly did the dosing.
- Over-the-counter medication and supplements can be included in the packaging.
- Some insurance companies will even ship to your address.
Salad or bubble packaging may not be suitable for you. Still, seeking a way to avoid assisted living costs, keep your independence, or even simplify your daily or weekly routines can be beneficial. Talk to your doctor or pharmacy about this option if it may help.
How to find a pharmacy that offers salad or bubble prescription packaging
You will find that most of the local compounding pharmacies provide this service. Here is a compounding pharmacy in the state of Washington that includes bubble or salad packaging: Peninsula Pharmacies Inc
Here is another good way to locate a compounding pharmacy in your area:
Who regulates compounding pharmacies?
Wholesalers and manufacturers of compounded medications are regulated by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), an independent, not-for-profit organization that sets standards for the pharmaceutical industry. The USP's "Compounding" chapter describes quality standards that all compounding pharmacies must follow.
How can I be sure my compounding pharmacy is reputable?
The best way to find a reputable compounding pharmacy is to ask your doctor or another healthcare professional for a recommendation. You can also check the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's (NABP) website to see if a pharmacy is accredited by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB).
What is the difference between a compounding pharmacy and a traditional pharmacy?
All pharmacies - whether they compound medications or not - are licensed by state boards of pharmacy. All pharmacists, regardless of whether they compound medications, must graduate from an accredited pharmacy school and pass two national exams administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
The critical difference between compounding pharmacies and traditional pharmacies is that compounding pharmacies specialize in preparing custom-made medications, while conventional pharmacies dispense commercially available medication products. Compounded medications are not FDA-approved because they are created for individual patients based on specific prescriptions. Commercial drugs are mass-produced and require FDA approval before they can be marketed and sold.
What about prescription refills? Here is another way to help your senior stay independent in an assisted living community.
It's easy for older adults to forget to reorder prescriptions in time. Ask your pharmacy or compounding pharmacy if they can mail your drugs on an automatic renewal basis—no more worries.
Some insurance companies will even allow shipping the medications to your address, which can be a great way to avoid going to the pharmacy every time you need a refill. Plus, having the drugs delivered right to your door can help ensure that you always have them on hand and that you're taking them as prescribed.
How to find a pharmacy that offers mail-order renewal
Here is an online search you can do:
Mail Order Pharmacy
What if I want or need to take over-the-counter medications?
Over-the-counter or non-prescription medications and supplements may be added to your salad pack. Let the pharmacist know what you need.
Take advantage of saving money when a bubble or salad packaging over-the-counter medications.
There are a few ways to get discounts on over-the-counter medications:
1. Join a prescription discount club like AAA or AARP. These organizations offer members discounts on various products and services, including over-the-counter medications.
2. Use a coupon app like Ibotta or Flipp. These apps offer digital coupons that can be redeemed for cash back at participating stores. Many pharmacies participate in these programs, so be sure to check before you shop.
3. Ask your pharmacist about generic over-the-counter medications are often cheaper than brand-name equivalents.
Is there a limit to the number of medications put into salad or bubble packaging?
That depends on the pharmacy, but most can accommodate a large salad bubble pack.
There may be a limit to ensure that the medications are fresh and that you get the total dosage of each drug. If you have more pills than the salad packaging can handle, you may need more than one salad package, or you may need to consider a different type of packaging. Ask the pharmacist for help or suggestions.
Will insurance cover the cost of salad or bubble packaging?
You may find that some pharmacies charge a monthly fee for this service while others do not. This answer to insurance coverage will vary greatly depending on your insurance type.
A private insurance company will most likely cover the cost of the prescriptions but may not cover the cost of the packaging and postage or mailing fees. You're probably looking at a single monthly payment, approximate lump sum, or average monthly cost out of the pocket of around $15.00 per month.
If you're on Medicare or Medicaid program, they may cover assisted living or offer financial support with the cost of both the prescriptions and packaging. There are assisted living communities that accept Medicaid and offer affordable assisted living.
When deciding whether salad or bubble prescription packaging suits you or your loved one, there are many variables to consider. Assisted living costs can be a significant factor in this decision as well as making sure your medications are taken on time and as prescribed.
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about this option and whether it would fit you well.
If you're considering using salad or bubble prescription packaging for yourself or aging parents in an assisted living residence or senior care home, talk to your doctor or pharmacist first to see if it's right for you. They can help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of this type of packaging and advise you on whether your insurance will cover the costs.
Once you've decided that salad or bubble prescription packaging is proper for you, ask your pharmacy about their specific policies and procedures. This way, you can be sure that you're getting the best possible service and that your medications are being handled safely and securely.
Does a nursing home or skilled nursing facility offer bubble or salad packaging medications?
These assisted living communities provide medication assistance as part of their essential services or clinical care. They must manage all medications for all residents or patients as part of their assisted living care. Patients are not allowed to self-medicate in nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities.
What are some of the drawbacks of salad or bubble prescription packaging?
There are a few drawbacks to using salad or bubble prescription packaging, including:
- The potential for medications to become outdated or expire before they are used
- The need to keep track of multiple packages if you are taking more than one medication
- The possibility that drugs could be damaged during shipping
Despite these potential drawbacks, salad or bubble prescription packaging can be a great way to save money on assisted living and medication management costs.
Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see if it's right for you. They can help you understand the pros and cons of this type of packaging and can also advise you on whether your insurance will cover the costs.
How can I determine if my health care insurance will offer financial assistance with this senior care service?
You will need to do some financial planning by calling your insurance company or pharmacy ahead of time. Understanding assisted living costs is essential to research before prospective residents move into a community and later learn they will have to pay for assisted living soon.
What about if I live in a rural area and don't have easy access to compounding pharmacies?
There are many ways to find a local compounding pharmacy. Here are some tips:
- Check with your current pharmacy first. They can often give you the name of a local compounding pharmacy.
- Search the internet for "compounding pharmacies near me."
- Call your state's Board of Pharmacy. They can give you a list of compounding pharmacies in your area.
- Ask your doctor for a recommendation.
- Finally, there is a national center you can always check: The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy website at www.nabp.net.
When you call the compounding pharmacy, ask if they offer salad or bubble packaging.
What are some other benefits of using compounding pharmacies?
In addition to offering salad or bubble packaging, compounding pharmacies can make custom medications unavailable from traditional pharmacies.
For example, if you have difficulty swallowing pills, the compounding pharmacy can make your medication into a liquid form.
Compounding pharmacies can also make medications in different strengths than commercially available ones.
Another benefit is that if you are taking a medication that is only available in a higher strength than what you need, the compounding pharmacy can make a lower strength for you.
Compounding pharmacies can also make medications that are no longer commercially available.
If you have questions about compounding pharmacies or how they can help you, ask your pharmacist or doctor.
Compounding pharmacies offer seniors many benefits, including taking over-the-counter medications, custom medications not available from traditional pharmacies, and different strengths of medicine.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you are a senior and have questions about compounding pharmacies.
Ensure you understand the medication policy of the community you are interested in.
If you are a senior considering assisted living facilities or assisted living residences, ask about their medication policies. You may find that many assisted living facilities charge a monthly fee for this service while others do not.
Assisted living communities offer many benefits to seniors, but it's important to maintain lower care fees and remain independent as long as possible.
When comparing the cost of assisted living and medication management, consider all the factors involved. Some communities may charge a monthly fee for this service, while others do not.
You may also want to consider the many advantages of using a compounding pharmacy, which can offer many benefits to seniors, including custom medications not available from traditional pharmacies.
How much is assisted living insurance?
Assisted living insurance is called Long Term Care Insurance. New policies can be challenging to find before they were typically offered through a person's employer as part of their group benefits in the past.
What is salad or bubble prescription packaging?
Salad packing is often called Multi-dose packaging, where the pharmacy will bundle your medications together by date and time. Bubble prescription packaging is designed to help keep track of all the various patient's medications they might need. Instead of having multi-medication pouches, Bubble Packs are labeled with specific days and times in sealed compartments to take the medication.
What is a compounding pharmacy?
A compounding pharmacy is a specific type of pharmacy, that will make medications for people who have certain medication needs or requirements, that cannot be met by traditional commercially available drugs.