Every time her parents pick up a new prescription at a Walgreens in Houston, they follow Duyen Pham-Madden’s standing instructions: Use the iPad she bought for them, log onto FaceTime, hold up the pill bottles for her examination.
Her mother, 79, and father, 77, need numerous medications, but have trouble grasping when and how to take them.
The label may say to take one pill three times a day, but “my dad might take one a day,” said Ms. Pham-Madden, 56, an insurance purchasing agent in Blue Springs, Mo. “Or take three at a time.”
So she interprets the directions for them, also reminding her mother to take the prescribed megadose of vitamin D, for osteoporosis, only weekly, not daily.
Part of their struggle, Ms. Pham-Madden believes, stems from language barriers. The family emigrated from Vietnam in 1975, and while her parents speak and read English, they lack the fluency of native speakers.
But recently, Ms. Pham-Madden said, her father posed a question that anyone grappling with Medicare drug coverage might ask: “What’s the doughnut hole?
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