October 20, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Senior Medications

With many seniors taking multiple prescriptions, and with doctors adding and changing medications and dosages to determine the perfect solutions, it is critical to know what to do with medications that are no longer needed or which have expired. There are several options:

  1. Check labels. The medication’s label or informational literature might provide guidance on how to safely dispose of the drug. You could also consult with the pharmacist for suggestions.
  2. Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This is the preferred method to properly get rid of unwanted medications, and is organized every year in locations throughout the country by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. Find the location closest to you and the next date for the local event here.
  3. Exercise care prior to flushing medication down the toilet. Flushing prescription medications down the toilet is usually not recommended, but there are specific exceptions, listed in the FDA’s Flush List here. Medications currently deemed acceptable to flush include:
  • Acetaminophen
  • Benzhydrocodone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Diazepam
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Meperidine
  • Methadone
  • Methylphenidate
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Sodium Oxybate
  • Tapentadol
  1. Camouflage when disposing. Many prescription medications can be discarded with regular garbage, if guidelines are taken to prevent animals from inadvertently ingesting them or from anyone seeking drugs to uncover and take them. The FDA advises combining the medications with an undesirable substance – such as coffee grounds or kitty litter – and then placing in a sealed plastic bag prior to adding to your household garbage bag.
  2. Eliminate identifying information. Be sure to scratch out and/or shred any private information to safeguard the senior’s identification and to prevent anyone who is unauthorized from discovering the pill container and obtaining a refill of the prescription.

For more help with senior medications, including medication reminders to ensure seniors take prescription medications exactly as advised by the health care provider, connect with At Home Independent Living, Our caregivers support senior independent living in Syracuse and the surrounding areas and are here to help with a wide range of aging care needs in the home that improve total wellbeing for seniors, including:

  • Help with dressing and preparing a safe bathing environment
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Light housecleaning
  • Companionship to engage in conversations and enjoyable activities
  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and outings
  • Running errands, like, picking up groceries and prescriptions
  • And much more

Give us a call at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to let us know more about the challenges your loved one is facing, and to request a free in-home assessment to allow us to share with you how we can help.