Spring Cleaning: Don’t Forget About Your Medicine Cabinet!

A healthcare worker and an elderly man looking at a medicine bottle.

Warmer weather is coming, which means it’s a great time to get some spring cleaning done. Many people take the changing seasons as an opportunity to clean every corner, organize those closets, and purge some of the junk that’s been sitting around. But one area people often miss is the medicine cabinet.

When your loved ones are in hospice care, they might have several medications to keep track of. If old prescriptions and bottles are taking up space, it can be easy to take the wrong medicine accidentally. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe this spring by doing a quick sweep through your medicine cabinet.

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Medicine Cabinet 

Old medications can cause more harm than good. If you have a stockpile of out-of-date medicine, there’s a higher risk of accidental overdose or medication mix-ups. Follow these steps to make sure your medicine cabinet is organized and avoid making any dangerous mistakes.

  • Check the Date — If it’s expired, make a pile of medications to throw away. 
  • Throw Out Old Prescriptions — Prescriptions have a one-year rule. If it’s a year past the date you got it, it’s time to throw it out. 
  • Throw Away Anything That Changed Color, Taste, or Smell — Some medications change color, taste, or smell when they expire. Add these to your discard pile.  
  • Discard Unidentified Medications — If you have some medications in travel containers or the label has worn off the bottle, it’s safer to throw these away than try to guess what it is. 
  • Relocate Your Medicine — Some people store their medicine in the bathroom cabinet. This is actually not a good place for them, because moisture can lower the effectiveness of your medicine. Consider moving them to a secure spot in your hallway closet or kitchen cabinet. 

5 Steps to Properly Dispose of Your Old Medicine

Once you’ve cleaned out the expired or old medications, it’s time to dispose of them. But don’t just put them in the garbage or flush them down the toilet—it’s important to follow the proper steps to get rid of medicine.

  1. Pour medications into a baggie. 
  2. Add some water to dissolve the medicine. 
  3. Put cat litter or coffee grounds in the bag—this makes it unappealing to animals or children.
  4. Seal the bag and throw it in the trash.
  5. Remove any personal identification on the prescription bottle before throwing it away. 

You can also take your expired or unwanted medicine to a drop-off location. Most pharmacies, police departments, hospitals, or fire stations have a drug take-back service. 

San Jose Hospice Care: Protecting Our Loved Ones One Step at a Time

Sometimes spring cleaning is the motivation we need to start organizing medication

Cleaning out the medicine cabinet is just one step towards taking better care of your loved ones. 

If your loved one is struggling with medication management and needs more assistance than you can give, it may be time to consider hospice care. San Jose Hospice Care is ready to help. Our compassionate team will prioritize your loved one’s comfort and well-being. Reach out to us to find out if hospice care is the right next step today.

If you or a loved one are considering hospice care, contact our team at San Jose Hospice Care for guidance today.

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