Owners' Blog

Poison Prevention Awareness Month for Family Caregivers

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

If you are a family caregiver, you may feel as if you are safe in ignoring all the information available during Poison Prevention Awareness Month. After all, aging adults are not in danger of poisoning, right? The truth is that millions of elderly adults experience accidental poisoning each year, sending them to the doctor’s office as well as the emergency room. Family caregivers across the country should spend some time reviewing some of the most common situations that lead to poisoning in seniors.

Common Cases of Poisoning in Aging Adults

When seniors are dealing with cognitive and physical health issues, it can have a serious effect on their daily routines. Many aging adults take a number of different medications for their various ailments, but it can be confusing to remember which ones to take when. Mixing up doses, skipping medication, and taking double doses can lead to unintentional drug poisoning, which can have serious health effects. Many seniors struggle to keep their medications straight, making this type of poisoning one of the most common for the age group.

Accidental poisoning in senior can also happen when they mix up certain household products or confuse one type of packaging for another. For example, it’s common to put something in an unlabeled bottle, and then ingest it by believing it to be something else. Household chemicals are most often confused, such as cleaners and bug spray. Misusing common household products can also lead to poisoning, such as ingesting a topical ointment or drinking mouthwash. Accidental poisoning is more common than people think, which means that family caregivers need to be extra vigilant.

Preventing Accidental Poisoning in Elderly Adults

To prevent accidental poisoning in elderly adults, in-home care may be needed to meet their daily care needs. Family caregivers can often provide this during times where they don’t have to work or take care of their own families. However, it’s the times when the aging adult might otherwise be alone that they need an experienced and compassionate professional. Many family caregivers hire elder care providers to help their elderly relative throughout the day.

Elder care providers can significantly lower the risk of an elderly adult accidentally poisoning themselves. Most importantly, elder care providers can help seniors manage their medications properly. While elder care providers cannot dispense medicine directly to an aging adult, they can help with reminders, reading labels and documenting which pills were taken. They can also put bottles away so the aging adult doesn’t think they still need to take pills when they already have.

Elder care providers can also be with the aging adult throughout the day to run interference on situations that could lead to accidental poisoning. If the aging adult is rummaging for something, the elder care provider can step in and assist. In the event that a senior does accidentally poison themselves, the elder care provider is by their side to get proper help.

During Poison Prevention Awareness Month, there’s no better time for loving family caregivers to focus on accidental poisoning possibilities in seniors and take steps to reduce the risk for their elderly relative.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elder care in Snellville, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.