How Should I Dispose of My Elderly Parent’s Expired Medicines?

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Most seniors accumulate quite a few pill bottles and blister packs over the years, and keeping all those drugs in the house can be risky. Anyone who steps into the home could accidentally or purposefully take some of the drugs, and those situations must be avoided at all costs. Luckily, most drugs can easily be disposed of in a matter of minutes, reducing the risk of a mishap. Here are a few steps you can take to quickly and safely get rid of your senior loved one’s old medications.

Peel Off Personal Information

Once you’ve confirmed a drug is no longer needed, you should remove all personal information from the bottle or box. Many criminals get personal information by rummaging through garbage, and a single pill bottle could have all the information they need to steal your loved one’s identity. Once the labels have been peeled off, they need to be shredded or ripped into small pieces. 

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 West Hartford elder 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.

Consider Flushing the Medication

Before you flush any medication down the toilet, you must first take a look at the label to see if there are any disposal instructions. Many companies say to flush the drugs down the toilet if there’s a high potential for abuse. This disposal strategy is a great option for opioids and other painkillers that are often taken recreationally.

Crush the Medication and Mix It with Other Substances

If criminals know your loved one goes through a lot of medications, they might begin to check your loved one’s garbage for unused pills and capsules. To prevent theft, you should crush up all the pills and mix the powder with unpalatable substances like dirt or kitty litter. When you’re crushing the pills, you need to be in a well-ventilated area and use gloves at all times. Accidentally inhaling or ingesting those fine particles could be extremely dangerous. 

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. West Hartford, CT, 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.

Donate the Medication

In many states, donating unused medication is completely legal as long as the drugs are inspected by a medical professional. Donating drugs is perfect for seniors who have cabinets full of unused pills, tablets, and tinctures. Depending on where you’re located, there could be very strict laws regarding which medications can be donated. As a general rule, drugs should only be donated if they’re properly labeled and in sealed packages.

Let the Professionals Handle It

Getting rid of unused drugs can be risky, which is one of the reasons many people let the experts handle those medications. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sponsors prescription drug take-back days throughout the country at least a few times a year. During those events, you can easily drop off boxes and bottles to trained professionals who can properly dispose of the medications. Some local hospitals and pharmacies also offer take-back programs.

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. West Hartford 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. For compassionate, reliable in-home care, trust the experienced professionals from Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (860) 372-4500 today.


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