MedSmart giving people more independence - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

MedSmart giving people more independence

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LA CRESCENT, MN (WXOW)—Judy Storlie said it's been hard watching her Aunt Rita Weiland's life change because of Dementia and Alzheimer's.

"It just breaks your heart to think of somebody who can't do everything on her own any more and that she's so bright in so many ways," Judy said.

Judy would travel from La Crescent to La Crosse every day to check in on Rita and make sure she was taking her medicine correctly.

She knew she needed more help when Rita would forget she had already taken her pills.

"She would have three to four days gone from the day before," Judy said. "She would just forget she had taken them.  Having the day to day dispenser didn't help because she would be confused."

Daniel Carlson, Home Medical Equipment Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Health System, introduced the family to MedSmart, an electronic pill dispenser.

"What it does is rotates the pills daily into the position so the individual can take them out," Carlson said.

MedSmart can hold up to one month of pills and be programmed to dispense pills six times a day.

"What's going to happen is it will alarm, rotate the pills into place and then in order for them to take the pills life up on the machine and in hand," Carlson said.

If a dose is missed, the machine will call or send a message to a caregiver, like Judy.

"Once in a while she would fall asleep and take her hearing aids out and she wouldn't hear it," Judy said.

Rita loved the machine so much she even named it.

"It was neat because she really did think of it as a person at her house making her take her pills on time," Judy said.

Rita had to move into a nursing home as her disease progressed, but, MedSmart gave her an extra 6 months of independence in her home of 82 years.

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