It’s not uncommon for doctors to change the medications and older adult takes. This can result in unused bottles of medicine in the house. This can lead to older adults taking the wrong medicine or someone stealing the medicine to sell or use recreationally. In addition, old medicines left in the house or that are not disposed of properly can lead to children or pets eating them and getting poisoned. Medications can also harm the environment by getting into drinking water.
It’s not always easy for caregivers to know how to get rid of old medicines. Below are some tips for caregivers to use to safely dispose of old medicines.
Drug Take Back Events
Watch for drug take back events in the senior’s community. These are events in which people can turn in both prescription and over the counter medicines to have them disposed of by professionals. Caregivers may be able to find out about the next take back event by contacting the city hall or local police. Events typically take place a few times per year.
Some pharmacies offer free take back programs or have locked boxes where medicines can be dropped off. Caregivers who are uncertain of whether a program is available in their area can call the pharmacy to find out. Other places that may have year-round take back programs are the police station, clinics, and hospitals.
Flush Some Medications
Some medications can be safely flushed down the toilet. Caregivers can check to see if a medication can be flushed by visiting the FDAs website and searching for “medication flush list.” Do not flush medicines that are not on this list as they may be bad for the environment. When unsafe drugs are flushed, they can leach into the groundwater supply or end up in rivers and lakes.
Follow Proper Disposal Steps at Home
When there is no other option, caregivers can dispose of medications at home following these steps:
- Take the medicine out of its original container.
- Mix the medication with something that makes them unpalatable, like coffee grounds or cat litter.
- Place the mixture in a sealed bag or in a disposable container that has a lid.
- Remove all traces of personal information from the prescription bottle to prevent identity theft. You can do this by using a permanent marker to scribble out the senior’s name and address.
- Put the sealed container with the medicine in the garbage. Recycle the prescription bottle.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering a Caregiver in Ontario, CA please contact the caring staff at Motherly Comfort Home Care, LLC today at (909) 610-3222.