Comparing the Best Automated Pill Dispensers for Seniors in 2023

If you or someone you know is struggling to keep track of medication and take it on schedule, some great, automated solutions are available to help. When simply taking the right medication at the right time can improve your quality of life, an automatic medication dispenser makes a tremendous difference.

A survey conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that nearly two-thirds of Canadians aged 65 to 79 take five or more prescription medications, and nearly half of those aged 80 or older take 10 or more prescription medications.

Fortunately, several options are available among the best automatic medication dispensers for seniors in Canada. They aren’t all the same. Medication dispensers can range from simple to high-tech; sometimes, the simplest works out better for the user. We’ve prepared a quick guide to help patients and caregivers choose the best option to meet their needs.

3 Key Reasons for Automating Medication Management

When someone struggles to maintain their medication schedule, introducing automated medication management can bring these key benefits:

1. Improved Patient Outcomes

Around 75% of Americans have trouble taking medication as directed. 39% of Canadians struggle to follow the correct regime for their medication. Forgetfulness significantly contributes to non-adherence with prescription schedules, a factor automated medication management can mitigate.

For patients, this can lead to improved outcomes. They get the full benefit of their medication when they take it according to directions. They’re more likely to take the correct dosage on the proper timeline.

2. Better Patient Safety

Medication adherence is often called “pharmacy’s biggest problem” in Canada. The Canadian data shows that non-adherence to medication regimes leads to more than 12,500 preventable deaths each year among cardiovascular patients alone. In the US, it’s the fourth-leading cause of accidental deaths.

Automated medication dispensers can be a solution for improving medication adherence and preventing unnecessary deaths. Whether due to taking an incorrect dosage or forgetting to take medication, an automated solution keeps track and leads to better compliance.

3. Better Caregiving Outcomes

Keeping loved ones safe and independent is often a caregiver’s primary goal. Automated medication dispensers can help achieve those things by making medication management quicker and easier for the caregiver and the loved one. 

This convenience is crucial. Those cared for can maintain some independence and have a valuable self-esteem boost. It’s a win-win for caregivers and patients.

The 6 Best Medication Dispensers for Seniors With Different Complexities

LifelineLifeline MedReadyMed-E-LertMed-E-LertMedminderMedminderLivi Medication DispenserLiviMedacubeMedacubePriaPria
Days worth of medication28 days28 days28 days90 days90 days28 days
No upfront cost
Subscription required
Connection to health response call centre
Cellular connection
Battery backup; battery-only
Small, comfortable device size
Medications are lockedoptional

Lifeline’s Medready Automatic Medication Dispenser

Lifeline’s Medready Automatic Medication Dispenser is a simple, affordable solution for better medication management. It helps users avoid medication errors and live independently, with fewer medication-related hospitalizations.

The Medready dispenser is easy to use, dispensing pre-loaded medications on a schedule. Users press the compartment open to receive their medication. Caregivers get peace of mind as Lifeline’s response centre monitors the dispenser. They will receive an SMS text or email alert if their loved one misses a dose.

Lifeline MedReady Pros and Cons:


  • The device is easy for caregivers to load and subscribers to use. It works well when there is a caregiver to fill the device, but is also easy for those who can fill their own. The medication slots are large for easy management and comes with a backup battery in case of power outages.
  • The device connects to the Lifeline Response Centre and automatically alerts caregivers if the user misses a dose. Users and caregivers can also get support as needed from Lifeline’s Response Centre.
  • Reminders are flexible for the needs of the subscriber. Visual and audible alarms provide cues while email, text message, or phone calls also support adherence. The device has built-in cellular communication so no additional telephone services are needed. 
  • MedReady offers one of the more affordable options on the market, with prices starting at $49.95 (plus applicable taxes). Shipping fee is $18 (plus applicable taxes).
  • Lifeline’s med dispenser can be a stand alone service or bundled with one of their medical alarm and fall detection services for added peace of mind.


  • When compared to some of the more expensive automated medication dispensers, MedReady offers fewer features.
  • Although medication can be locked, this device is not recommended or designed for individuals who may feel tempted to break into the device for extra medication.

med-e-lert comparison


Med-E-Lert offers one to six daily doses with 28 slots in this automated medication dispenser. It’s a simple, battery-operated device with a flat rate (no monthly) cost and allows customized dosing combinations and programmable alerts for when medication is due.

The device automatically unlocks the medication compartment when the medication is due. This concept is one of the most basic options on the market, with no cellular or wifi connections and no automated connections to a response centre.

Med-E-Lert Pros and Cons:


  • This is a simple, affordable medication dispenser with a one-time user fee.
  • It offers smart electronic dispensing with flashing and audio alerts.
  • It includes low battery alerts and simple, three-button programming.


  • It has no AC adapter and is battery-operated only.
  • This isn’t a connected device. It has no wifi or cellular capabilities and no connection to a response centre.
  • This device is not recommended or designed for individuals who may feel tempted to break into the device for extra medication.


Medminder’s automatic dispenser looks like a typical 28-day pill dispenser but combines wireless technology for enhanced safety features and connectivity. It’s a bit more complex in its setup than other automated options but is generally simple on the user end once filled.

Medminder offers a central computer that caregivers can access to check on a patient’s dosage activity. Caregivers can receive email or text notifications about dosage, as well as weekly reports.

When used at home, Medminder doesn’t require patients to have wifi or cellular technology, but they must have electricity. The built-in micro cell phone connects with Medminder’s monitoring technology.

Medminder Smart Pill Box Pros and Cons:


  • Clear patient reminders to take medication.
  • Caregiver alerts via monitoring technology.
  • Rich reports on medication activity.


  • Has a mail-order pharmacy service, but only for the US.
  • Does not have a connection with a response centre.
  • This device is not recommended or designed for individuals who may feel tempted to break into the device for extra medication.

medminder pill box

Livi medication dispenser


The Livi Smart Pill Dispenser simplifies managing multiple medications for caregivers and patients. It has a simple reminder and dispensing system – a green button lights up, and the user pushes it to release the medication.

This device allows up to 15 pills, multiple times daily or as needed. It’s a flexible option for those whose mediation needs may grow or fluctuate. Caregivers and loved ones can receive text messages when medications are taken or missed.

Livi is also available at scale for pharmacy or home care organizations.

Livi Pros and Cons:


  • Livi holds up to 90 days’ worth of medications, one of the largest capacities on the market.
  • Connectivity helps provide peace of mind to caregivers.
  • Loading is quick and easy after initial setup. Pills can be poured straight into designated containers, saving hours of loading time.
  • Dispenses portable travel packs for up to 14 days of medication.


  • This big, feature-rich solution might be a bit much for some. The device is large and designed to sit on a kitchen counter.
  • Battery backup is only 6-8 hours (although the information will remain stored on the cloud).
  • The monthly subscription is relatively costly.


Medacube allows up to 16 different medications and is another large-capacity option, holding a 90-day supply. It doesn’t require assembly or pre-sorting of pills.

Medacube alerts patients when their dosage is ready and will send a text or email reminders for missed doses. It allows caregivers to get real-time medication usage information while allowing the patient to remain independent.

Medacube Pros and Cons:


  • Large capacity – bulk load up to 16 medications for a 90-day supply.
  • Clinical studies show high patient medication adherence with the use of the device.
  • Connected device for a caregiver or relative’s peace of mind.


  • Large device. It takes up significant space.
  • On the expensive end of automated medication dispensing options.

medacube automatic pill dispenser



Pria is a smart, automated medication dispenser that helps patients to stick with their medication schedule. It alerts the patient’s care circle if they miss a dose.

Pria includes an app to connect caregivers and patients and has two-way video calls or chats among its features. This automatic pill dispenser is one of the most high-tech options.

Pria Pros and Cons:


  • While designed to sit on a counter, it’s not as big as similar competitors.
  • Smart features, including video chat. Users can quickly connect with their care circle.
  • Offers scheduled check-ins.


  • More complex solution. The features may be too much for some people.
  • You can’t lock it; it is not tamper-proof.
  • This is an expensive option. Users buy the device and a monthly subscription to use it.

What to Consider in an Automatic Pill Dispenser

Here are some points you might want to consider when choosing an automatic dispenser:

The Type of Medication It Can Store

Does the dispenser have the storage capacity for all the patient’s medications?


Does the dispenser suit the situation of the user and the caregiver? Consider who is filling the dispenser and who is the end user. For example, some options may be too complex or feature-rich for some users.


Factors such as cognition, visual impairment, and any physical or mobility issues can be a factor. For example, some dispensers have small screens that may be difficult for anyone with visual impairments to operate.


Look into what you’re getting for your money. For example, some dispensers require one upfront payment. Others have no upfront payment but have a monthly subscription, while other dispensers may have both an upfront payment and a monthly subscription.
Response Centre and Customer Service

How easy is it for caregivers or patients to get help? Does the device offer a connection to a response centre?


Automated medication dispensers can make a real difference for patients and caregivers. They help to mitigate medication errors or missed doses while giving caregivers peace of mind that patients are getting their medication.

There are many options for Canadians looking for an automated medication dispenser, with a wide range between simple and more feature-rich technologies. We suggest starting by making a list of your must-have features and determining your budget. You can use these to help narrow down your options.

The Last Word

Medical alert systems provide safety and independence to older adults who are vulnerable to medical emergencies, and peace of mind to their family members and friends. However, there are many providers in the Canadian market and they are all different in some way. It’s important to make sure you choose the right one for your needs.

All of the providers reviewed in this article are worthy of your consideration and we have tried to summarize the pros and cons of each. In our opinion, Lifeline is the best choice for most people. Lifeline’s experience; their dependable, senior-friendly and well-designed products; their warm, caring customer care; and the value they provide make them a solid recommendation.

“To the amazing Lifeline team, Thank you so very much for your kind attention to my dad, Jean Paul Hebert. We have had your service for many years now, since mom became ill. We thank you most sincerely.”

Denise, Caregiver


“The wireless service is perfect for someone like me who has a chronic illness. It lets me stay independent safely and it’s so wonderful not to have to worry about how I would get help if I have another unnoticed seizure.”

Nigel F., Subscriber

Nigel F.

“Words can barely express how much peace of mind this service has brought to me and my family since getting it. It has allowed me to live alone, in my own home, ever since my husband’s death years ago. A wonderful service.”

Thelma, Subscriber