Thousands of elderly adults are rushed to the emergency room each month due to accidental poisoning.
Family caregivers should take advantage of Poison Prevention Awareness Month in March to learn all about how aging adults manage to endanger their health and even their lives via accidental poisoning. Even though family caregivers have a lot of things to worry about when it comes to their elderly loved one’s health, they must put poison prevention at the top of that list.
Isn’t Poison Prevention Awareness All About Children?
Elderly adults are more likely to suffer a fatality from accidental poisoning than almost any other age group. The primary reason for this is due to medication mismanagement. Medicine is very powerful in keeping people healthy and controlling certain symptoms. However, when used incorrectly, it can lead to numerous health problems and even death.
Most seniors take some kind of medication for health-related issues, whether it’s for arthritis, cataracts, high blood pressure, depression, cardiovascular health or diabetes. When used properly, or how a doctor has prescribed it, medication can be a lifesaver. However, when used incorrectly, prescription medication can become dangerous. When mixing several medications, the likelihood of accidental poisoning increases dramatically.
Ways that Seniors Mismanage Medicine
Aging adults have several opportunities every day to mix up their medication, leading to accidental poisoning. All it takes is for them to ingest the wrong dose at the wrong time. One common scenario is that seniors forget that they have already had their daily dose, and therefore take a second dose of powerful medicine. In other cases, they can mix up the doses between several of their pill prescriptions, ingesting too much of something and not enough of another.
Other scenarios that can lead to accidental poisoning includes taking pills that belong to another, misreading the label on the bottle, taking expired medications and mixing prescription meds with other types of pills. Sometimes, seniors will take pills out of their original bottles and put them in unmarked ones. Then, at a later date, they mistakenly take the wrong pills because they can’t identify them.
Enacting Steps for Poison Prevention
Family caregivers often hire elder care providers to help their aging loved ones receive in-home care for their health issues. If an elderly adult is already getting elder care provider services, family caregivers should add medication management to the list of responsibilities. Elder care providers cannot dispense medicine, but they can oversee and supervise, remind and record. With an elder care provider alongside the senior, the chances of medication mismanagement are significantly restored.
Accidental poisoning is on the rise in the elderly community as more seniors rely on pills to keep them feeling good, control symptoms and extend their health. Family caregivers can get inspiration from Poison Prevention Awareness Month to put steps into place to significantly reduce the chances of an accidental poisoning.
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