Frequently Asked Questions

Medication Safety - Seniors

Medication Safety for Seniors 

  • Keep a list of your medicines to take to doctor appointments and for emergencies.
  • Store family members' medicines in separate locations so you won't mix up their medicines with yours.
  • Never take medicine in the dark--turn on the lights so you can see what you're taking.
  • Read the label before taking your medicine. If you wear glasses, make sure you put them on first!
  • Keep a daily record of each dose of medicine you take. This will help you not to skip a dose or take too many doses of your medicine.
  • Never take extra doses of medicine.
  • Never take expired medicine.
  • Never take anyone else's medicine.
  • Just because you feel better, don't stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor.

Preventing Drug Interactions and Side Effects in Seniors

  • Take all medications with at least several swallows of water and stand or sit upright, if possible.
  • Notify your doctor of recent or sudden weight loss or a lengthy period of vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms may be caused by a medicine. More importantly, doses of your medicines may have to be changed if you have lost weight or become dehydrated.
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any over-the-counter (OTC), herbal, natural, or homeopathic nutritional supplements you are taking. These can interact with your medications.
  • Just because a product is "over-the-counter" or "natural" does not mean it is totally safe. Follow package instructions and warnings carefully. 
  • Most medicines and supplements can cause minor adverse effects. Some should not be taken by people with certain medical conditions. Never take more than the does recommended on the package.
  • Many prescription pain medications and natural products, cough suppressants, sinus/allergy, and stomach medicines contain the same or similar ingredients found in OTC products. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are OTC products you should not take while taking prescription medication.  

Don't Let Your Medications Be a Hazard to Your Grandchildren

  • When possible, choose medicine with child-resistant caps. Remember, NOTHING is childproof.
  • Keep weekly pill minders in a secure place. They are not child resistant.
  • Never take your medications in front of young children. Children like to imitate adults.
  • If children visit your home, keep medications in a locked cabinet.
  • Only give infants and children under your care over-the-counter medicines that are formulated for their age group and weight. Never give them medicines formulated for adults.