Accidental Poisoning in Seniors Can Be Prevented

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Accidental poisoning is much more common than it should be, thanks to the increasing number of prescription drugs that seniors must take. While these medications keep disease and chronic illness under control, it’s not unusual for aging adults to have multiple pills they must take throughout the day. It doesn’t take much for seniors to mix up the medications and create an accidental poisoning. If family caregivers want to avoid taking their aging loved one to the ER, they should pay attention to the information available during Poison Prevention Awareness Month.

Home Care Services in Plantation FL: Accidental Poisoning
Home Care Services in Plantation FL: Accidental Poisoning

What is Accidental Poisoning in Seniors?

When seniors ingest substances that are not appropriate for their bodies and they don’t realize it, they are setting themselves up for accidental poisoning. Because aging adults are often subject to complex medical regimens, it is very easy for them to mix up doses, skip doses or double up on doses. The result is high levels of drugs in their system or interactions with other drugs that can cause harm to the body.

Many seniors who rely on family caregivers to help them with daily tasks around the home also need help with daily living tasks, from laundry and meals to paying the bills and picking up prescriptions. Family caregivers cannot assume that aging adults can handle managing their medications, too. To avoid accidental poisoning in aging adults, family caregivers need to implement a supervisory plan so that mistakes will be avoided.

Helping Seniors With Medication Management

Family caregivers can really benefit from the excellent resources available during Poison Prevention Awareness Month and how they and their aging loved one can reduce the risk of accidental poisoning. The first step is to get organized. Family caregivers should go through all the medications and write down doses and names, plus any other instructions such as whether the aging adult should take the pill with food. Then, family caregivers should throw away all the expired medication. Finally, they can create a chart that reflects the proper medication schedule.

Many seniors benefit from an in-home elder care provider, to help them with all kinds of daily tasks that they may struggle to do themselves. From laundry and dirty dishes to meal preparation and assisting with dressing and grooming, elder care providers are an invaluable part of a disabled senior’s life. It stands to reason that they would be an excellent monitor of medication, without actually dispensing it. Elder care providers can help read bottle labels, remind the senior when their medication is due, keep a medicine log up to date, and put bottles away out of sight after the aging adult is done. Having someone around them can eliminate many of the mistakes that seniors make that lead to accidental poisoning.

The overwhelming message of National Poison Prevention Awareness Month is that accidental poisoning is something that can be prevented with planning and focus. Family caregivers need to help their aging relatives with most of their daily tasks, so it makes sense to include medication management as one of their responsibilities.


If you or a family member are in need of Home Care Services in Plantation, FL, call the caring professionals at Star Multi Care today at (954) 870-4770.
Providing service in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, Lighthouse Point, and Wilton Manors.

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.