March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month, which makes it the ideal opportunity for you to look at your elderly parent’s home and do what it takes to reduce their risk of accidental poisoning. You might think that accidental poisoning is just about children, but the truth is that thousands of seniors are hospitalized each year for poisonings. In fact, seniors are more likely to be hospitalized and even die from poisoning than younger age groups of adults. Poison prevention must be an important part of your elderly care responsibilities.
Why Are Seniors At High Risk for Accidental Poisoning?
The reason why elderly adults have such a high risk of accidental poisoning is due to all the medicine they take. Older adults often take one or more drugs to treat chronic conditions, illnesses and diseases related to age. Common medications include antidepressants, pain relievers, analgesics, cardiovascular drugs, and more. When taken incorrectly or mixed with other medicines, these helpful drugs can become poison to seniors.
It’s not uncommon for elderly adults to mix up medications and take the wrong dose at the wrong time. Taking two or more medicines at the same time can cause reactions that can be dangerous. Often, seniors forget that they have already taken some of their meds and double up, causing dangerous levels in the body.
If seniors are taking medicine in the dark or without their glasses, they can misread the labels. Another problem is when elderly adults take medicine that was not prescribed to them. Seniors should also know what over-the-counter medications they should or should not take with their current prescription drugs. Finally, some seniors take their pills out of the prescription bottle to carry along, then they forget the instructions or even what they are.
Tips on Poison Prevention for Elderly Adults
Family caregivers and home care assistants can certainly take a role in preventing accidental poisoning when it comes to an elderly person’s medications. They should list all the medication, along with the dose and time of day to take them. Many seniors find it helpful to have a chart or checklist to keep track of what they take and when. Pill dispenser boxes can also help. Medicine should never be stored in a labeled bottle of another medicine. A doctor or pharmacist can advise on what over-the-counter medicine an elderly person can take with their current medicines. Family caregivers can also get rid of medicine that has expired.
Accidental poisoning in elderly adults is not something to ignore, because it can cause health problems or even be fatal in elderly adults. Family caregivers that want to provide the best elderly care for their aging loved ones should take steps now to prevent tragedy from accidental poisoning in the future. Hiring an elderly care provider who can be with a senior loved one when family caregivers can’t, is a great step toward preventing such an accident.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Edison, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.