Is My Aging Relative at Risk for Accidental Poisoning?

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Prescription medication can do amazing things for the health and wellness of aging adults. From reducing the effects of chronic conditions to dealing with symptoms of diseases, medication prescribed by a doctor can really improve an elderly adult’s quality of life. However, making mistakes in taking that medication can lead to serious problems, even accidental poisoning. Because March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month, it’s easy for family caregivers to evaluate medication management to ensure that their aging relative can avoid accidental poisoning.

Elder Care Plainview NY - Is My Aging Relative at Risk for Accidental Poisoning?

Elder Care Plainview NY – Is My Aging Relative at Risk for Accidental Poisoning?

Medication Mismanagement Can Lead to Accidental Poisoning

Even the most organized elderly adult can struggle with medication management, especially if they are tired, busy, frustrated, depressed or dealing with mild cognitive decline. Other factors like poor vision, bad habits, and general confusion can lead to accidental poisoning via prescription medication. While some mistakes may not lead to dramatic health issues, it’s possible that some mistakes can become quite serious and land the aging adult in the emergency room for accidental poisoning.

Mistakes in taking prescription medication are easy to make. Some seniors may be forgetful and skip a dose or else double up, thinking they skipped a dose when they really did take pills. They may accidentally take the wrong pill at the wrong time or mix them with over-the-counter drugs that they’ve been warned about. Many seniors remove pills from their prescription bottles and put them in other containers or pill boxes. Then having no way to identify them, they take the wrong pills. Still others allow their pills to expire yet take them anyhow. For those with a spouse or roommate on pills, it’s possible to take someone else’s meds too.

Elder Care Providers Prevent Accidental Poisoning

To prevent accidental poisoning in seniors due to medication mismanagement, family caregivers need to put together a plan that includes someone supervising the senior and their meds. Family caregivers can be in charge of this when they are with their aging loved ones. It’s a good idea to put the bottles away, somewhere out of sight, after administering meds because then seniors won’t be prompted to take more when they see a bottle in plain sight.

When family caregivers cannot be with their elderly relatives, many opt for in-home care given by elder care providers. These professionals help seniors with physical or mental challenges to live at home and get through each day’s tasks. This could include dressing, grooming, laundry, light housekeeping and making meals. It can also include medication management. When an elder care provider is on the scene, they can make sure the aging adult is taking the right meds at the right tie. While they can’t give medicine out, they can help read labels, provide reminders of time and amount, and keep a log for the family caregivers to review.

Poison Prevention Awareness Month is an attempt to shine a spotlight on accidental poisoning. Family caregivers can avoid the devastating effects of accidental poisoning in elderly adults by focusing on solutions to medication mismanagement.

If you or an aging loved one are in need of Elder Care Services in Plainview NY or the surrounding areas, contact the caring professionals at Star Multi Care Services today at (631)956-8835. We are the Right Choice for Home Health Care Services!

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About the author: Stephen Sternbach
Stephen Sternbach has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Star Multi Care Services since 1987. After the sale of the New York and New Jersey operations of Star Multi Care Services, Sternbach brought the company private where he remains President and CEO of this newly developed $22M home healthcare company. With Sternbach at the helm, Star Multi Care Services employs more than 550 employees, in six offices throughout Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. From 1978 to 1986, Sternbach was associated with Automated Data Processing, Inc. (“ADP”)–a provider of information services, where he held several marketing positions before becoming the Director of Sales. 1999-2008 Sternbach was an active participant on the Board of Directors for Proginet–a computer software company based in Garden City, New York. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Long Island Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society from 1996-2002. In 1996, Stephen Sternbach was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young, Paine Webber and NASDAQ. Sternbach was also named in Crain’s New York Business Article, “40 Under 40” Successful Business Executives/Future Business Leaders in 1995. While maintaining a diversity of business and personal interests, Sternbach concentrated most of his efforts over the past 28 years towards continuously improving the quality of services delivered by the Star Multi Care Services’ family of companies. Stephen Sternbach holds a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University – Maxwell School of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Relations and Personnel Administration from Ithaca College.