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Guidelines for Proper Disposal of a Loved One’s Unused Medications

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Seniors often have old medications that are either expired or no longer needed just sitting in their medicine cabinets. These medications can pose a risk to a senior who may accidentally take them, and certain types of drugs could be enticing to people who shouldn’t have them. Disposing of your senior loved one’s medications should be part of your regular routine as a caregiver, and you can follow these strategies to make sure it’s done responsibly.

Watch the Expiration Dates

Expired medications should be removed from your loved one’s home as soon as possible. Make it a habit to go through the medicine cabinet once a month to check for items that have expired. If your loved one is taken off a medication or no longer needs it, those should be removed as well.

Check the Directions

Certain medications tell you how to dispose of them. For instance, your loved one’s prescription bottle may say to flush the contents when the drug is no longer needed. While you may worry about the effects of flushing medications into the water system, these instructions need to be followed to keep people safe. Flushing medication is typically recommended when the drug could pose a life-threatening risk to others. For instance, fentanyl patches are often required to be flushed immediately, since contact with them could be fatal to other humans and animals.

Medication management can be difficult for older adults with cognitive issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Henderson at-home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.

Look for a Collection Site

Many communities host special drop-off locations where people are encouraged to bring their unneeded medications. These drop-off locations may be located at a police department, hospital, or other type of facility in your community where there are people who can be trusted to make sure the medication is disposed of properly. If you’re unsure of how to find a collection site, check with your loved one’s pharmacy to find out if one is in your area.

Assisting with medication management can be a challenging task for overworked caregivers. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Henderson, NV, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Follow Proper Trash Disposal Guidelines

In some cases, your best option is to throw medications away. Currently, it’s recommended to crush up pills and mix the powder with an unpleasant ingredient such as cat litter or coffee grounds. You can also mix liquids with similar ingredients. This step is to ensure that addictive medications such as painkillers won’t be able to be ingested by anyone else. You also need to put these materials in a sealed bag or container to minimize the risk of the contents leaking out into the environment.

Remove All Personal Information

Prescription bottles contain a wealth of vital information about your loved one that could be misused by a criminal. Use a black permanent marker to hide your loved one’s name, address, and any other personally identifying information. If the label is removable, shred it to further protect your loved one’s identity.

Older adults who need help managing their medications should consider professional home care services. Families shouldn’t have to worry about finding reliable senior care. Henderson Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of elderly home care. We offer a proprietary program called the Balanced Care Method, which uses holistic methods to promote senior health, our caregivers and Care Managers are available 24/7, and all of our in-home care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (702) 527-7723 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.