Senior Medication Safety

by Kathy Birkett

There are many ways that you can help your senior take their medications safely. Here are 10 tips for you and them:

  1. Read all drug labels to prevent interactions or inadvertent side effects. Don’t overlook the information on the ‘warning’ section of over the counter drugs.
  2. Learn about their own medications, especially any new drugs, so they know which foods or drugs to be avoided or what activity should be stopped while taking medications.
  3. Be sure your senior’s doctor is fully informed about all over the counter medications your senior currently takes.
  4. Have the current medication list, including over the counter drugs and nutritional supplements, reviewed by your senior’s doctor or pharmacist regularly to ensure there are no potential undesired interactions.
  5. Ask the doctor if your senior’s medication dosages are still appropriate for them if there has been a drop or increase in their weight recently.
  6. Dispose of any expired or unused medications appropriately, find a Drug Take Back location near you to dispose of medications safely.
  7. Ask the doctor if all these medications are still appropriate or if there are non-pharmocological interventions that could replace something.
  8. Follow all directions for taking prescription and nonprescription medications, including amount, time, meals, how much water, driving alerts and other instructions.
  9. Store medications appropriately according to the label. Do they need to be refrigerated, stored in a dry place away from heat or some other place?
  10. Never take medications out of original container so that label and dosing instructions are lost.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Family caregivers know that many of the medications and even the over the counter pills that their senior loved ones take each day are keeping them well. We know we can’t stop them all without serious consequences.

Drugs manage their blood sugar, blood pressure, reduce their cholesterol, help them breathe easier, manage their mood, fight infection and help their memory plus many other helpful interventions.

Our seniors would have a lower quality of life without some of these medications.

While they take these medications, we can take action to keep them as safe as possible. It doesn’t take too much effort to oversee safe medication administration.

Better safe than sorry!

For a free 15 minute telephone consult with Certified Geriatric Care Manager/Aging Life Care Professional™ call 919-803-8025.  email:  and visit: 


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