What Are the Best Ways to Get Rid of an Aging Parent’s Expired Medications?

By Mark Schmidt, 9:00 am on April 15, 2019

Keeping old pill bottles in the home can be very risky, and your aging parent must get rid of his or her prescription medications as soon as they expire or are no longer needed. In some cases, your parent might even be responsible for legal or medical issues that occur if the pills are stolen by another party. Here are a few tips that can help you get rid of your loved one’s medication quickly and safely.

Use Medical Disposal Kiosks

One of the easiest ways to get rid of prescription medication is to use a safe disposal kiosk, which can be found in thousands of pharmacies throughout the country, and you can rest assured the prescriptions will be destroyed by trained professionals. If you haven’t noticed any local kiosks, you might want to do a quick internet search. Some pharmacies may send out prescription disposal bags if they don’t have any storefronts in your town. 

Medication management is one of the most important duties family caregivers must take on. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality home care, Tucson Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

Destroy Personal Information

Make sure to remove all of your parent’s personal information before getting rid of any medications. The front of a pill bottle might contain all of the data a criminal needs to steal your loved one’s identity, which could end up costing your loved one tens of thousands of dollars. At the very least, cross out the personal information with a permanent marker. 

Grind and Mix Medication

Medication theft is a serious issue, and local criminals might go through your loved one’s garbage if they think they’ll find valuable pills such as opiates and other strong painkillers. Before any pills are tossed in the trash, they should be crushed and mixed with an unpalatable substance. Kitty litter is a great option because it’s inexpensive and can be picked up at most grocery stores. When you’re destroying your loved one’s pills, you must wear safety gloves and a dust mask.

From disposing of your loved one’s medications to providing transportation to medical appointments, there are several caregiving tasks you may not be able to complete without assistance. Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Tucson, Arizona, families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home.

Flush Old Pills

As an alternative to putting old pills in the trash, you might want to break them apart and flush them down the toilet. Flushing old pills is a particularly good idea if you live in an area where there’s quite a bit of drug-related crime. Criminals and drug addicts tend to look for prescriptions that can easily be abused or sold, including strong sedatives, barbiturates, opioids, and sleep medication.

Donate Old Prescriptions

If your parent has old prescriptions that are completely sealed, you should think about donating them. Many states have donation and reuse programs that help donors give their medications to low-income families. Before you donate any prescriptions, you must make sure the packages are sealed and nothing has expired. Your state might also have very specific regulations on which types of drugs can be donated, so you might need to do some research first.

If you need help with managing your loved one’s medications and other important tasks, reach out to Home Care Assistance. In Tucson, homecare providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To learn more about our customizable in-home care plans, call (520) 276-6555 to speak with a knowledgeable Care Manager.