One potential danger zone that’s often overlooked when family caregivers survey the safety of senior loved ones’ homes is the medicine cabinet.
We work hard to ensure their homes are free of hazards so they can age in place safely and comfortably as long as they wish to do so. Checking their medicine cabinets should be on the list of review items.
As Kathy explains in this Family Caregiver Video Tip, an added benefit of these checks is ensuring the medications our senior loved ones are taking are not out of date and thus safe and at their most effective.
Medicine Cabinet Safety Check
Kathy goes into a number of areas to review and provides some great tips family caregivers can use to help improve not just the safety but potentially also the health of seniors.
- Check out the dates on over the counter medications, such as pain relievers and cold formulas, and dispose of those that are beyond the date on the container.
- Don’t forget to look wherever seniors would use and store medicine, including under the sink or even in the kitchen.
- Track prescription medications seniors are taking using a form such as this medications form we found on the website of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.
- Properly dispose of prescription medications that are out of date. You might want to check out the medication disposal information discussed in an episode of the Senior Care Corner Show.
- Where there’s more than one senior living in the home, check the name listed on any prescription medicine containers to ensure they are all being taken by the correct person.
Marking Medication Bottles
One especially helpful tip from Kathy addresses the safety issues inherent in the tiny print on the containers of both prescription and over-the-counter medications. Print so small is difficult to read for many people, let alone older adults with vision that has seen better days. It often seems a real “prescription” for a harmful dosing error.
Enter Kathy and her permanent marker with a great suggestion, not just for seniors’ homes but also those of family caregivers. Watch in the video how she has marked the medication containers with the information older adults need to know in order to use the contents safely.
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