Six Steps to Help Aging Parents on National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day
Did you know that National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day is the third Friday in April each year? This year, it falls on April 16th. By disposing of unneeded and expired medications annually, we can help protect ourselves and others from addiction, as well as, accidental poisoning caused by expired medications becoming toxic, an overdose, or even death. Let us take a look at six steps for cleaning out your medicine cabinet or the medicine cabinet of a loved one.
- Check the dates. Examine everything in the medicine cabinet, including ointments, supplements, and vitamins. Collect any item that is beyond its expiration date to dispose of. Many medications can lose their effectiveness after the expiration date, and some may even become toxic.
- For prescriptions, follow the one-year cut-off rule. Discard any prescriptions that are more than one year old.
- Discard any items that have changed color, smell, or taste. This includes items whose color has faded, because they may have been exposed to too much light.
- Discard unmarked containers. If something is no longer in its original container and cannot be identified, get rid of it. This includes ointments that could be easily mistaken for creams.
- Follow the proper rules for disposing of medication. How you dispose of unwanted medication can be important. Flushed medications can flow into our water supply, negatively impacting the fish we eat and the water we drink. When discarded into the garbage, medications can leach into the soil and contaminate it. Instead, look for unused and expired medication receptacles at many pharmacies, or participate in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Drug Takeback Day on April 24, 2021.
If you must throw away medicine, follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s method for disposing of medicines properly. First, you mix the medication with an unappealing substance, like kitty litter or coffee grounds. Next, place the mixture into a sealed container and throw the sealed container into the household trash. Scratch out personal information on the empty medicine packaging to protect your identity and privacy and then throw the empty packaging away.
- Consider relocating your medicine cabinet. Many people may not be aware that the bathroom cabinet may not be the best place to store medications. The temperature and humidity changes that happen while the shower is running can lower the potency of your medications. Medications should be kept in a cool, dry place, away from children. Often, a dresser drawer in your bedroom can be safer, and with more consistent temperature and humidity, for your medicines.
Participating in National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day is just one way to help protect yourself and your loved ones safe. You can also protect yourself and your loved ones through establishing a comprehensive estate plan. For assistance in doing so, please reach out to our office to schedule an appointment.