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Prevent Accidental Overdose: Clean Your Senior Loved Ones Medicine Cabinet

In addition to all you do to keep your parents safe as they attempt to remain independent and age at home, trip-proofing the house, making certain they're eating properly, equipping the home with a home medical alert system, you also need to take time and check their medicine cabinet.

Going through your parents' medicine cabinet and discarding unused, unwanted and expired medication is one way to prevent an accidental drug overdose

The medicine cabinet in your elderly loved ones home should contain only the medications they are currently taking and if possible they should be utilizing a pill box that will divvy up the type and number of medications they need to take on a daily basis. The use of a pill box also acts as a reminder to take medications. A pill box also keeps you aware of whether the medications were taken that day and if they were taken at the appropriate. Don't forget to dispose of over the counter medications as well as prescriptions when you're doing the medicine cabinet clean out.

As part of the American Medicine Chest Challenge there are five steps to be taken, they are:

  • Knowing which medications your elderly loved ones should be taking on a daily basis
  • Inventory the over the counter and prescription medications that are in the house
  • Discard unwanted, unused and expired medications. There are collection sites available, visit American Medicine Chest Challenge to discover sites in your area or dispose of the medications safely - do not flush them down the toilet. To safely discard of medications you can:
    • Take the medications out of the original bottles
    • Mix the pills with used coffee grounds or kitty litter - or any material that will make the drugs unappealing
    • Put the mixture into a disposable container that has a lid or put them into a zip close bag
    • Make certain all personal information is removed from the pill bottles before you throw them away
  • Take medications only as prescribed
  • Talk to your elderly relative about the dangers of drug overdose and the
    importance of taking the pills at appropriate times throughout the day as well as
    whether to take with food or without food

Making certain your aging loved one is only taking medications that are prescribed is one of the many items that caregivers have to think about when working with them on ways to help them age safely at home.