It certainly hasn’t felt very spring-like in the greater Toronto area this week, but we’re seeing plenty of signs that warmer days are near. After all, while there’s snow and slush on the ground at the moment, we’re also beginning to see more of the sun—and that’s worth celebrating, in our opinion! This changing weather may inspire you to start spring cleaning—a tradition many of us partake in, even if we don’t love it—and that should include your medicine cabinet.
Here are some simple, effective tips to help keep your home safe, healthy and well-equipped to handle minor medical issues. We recommend implementing these tips in your own home and on behalf of your aging loved ones, who may require assistance. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about homecare services in Toronto, please contact us. We’d be pleased to answer your questions and offer a personalized quote.
Start by speaking to the pharmacist
Before you tackle the medicine cabinet itself, speak to your pharmacist (or your aging loved one’s pharmacist, when assisting them with this chore). Request a list of your loved one’s current medications and use the opportunity to inquire about potential drug interactions. If your loved one is also taking vitamins and supplements on a regular basis, ask the pharmacist if those products interfere with their prescription medications in any way. Once you have a clear list of what should (and should not) be in your loved one’s medicine cabinet, you can start the actual clean-up process.
Remove old or unnecessary items
Begin by taking everything—yes, absolutely everything!—out of the cabinet. If there are drawers and/or cupboards with additional pharmaceutical or personal care items, empty those spaces as well. Have a garbage bag nearby but remember, expired or unnecessary medications should be disposed of by returning them to your local pharmacy.
Next, go through the items one-by-one. Look for expired products (expired drugs can be placed in a bag for disposal, other items can go straight to the trash) and remove any medications that are no longer prescribed to your loved one. While the cabinet is empty, give it a quick cleaning—a damp cloth and spritz of household cleaner is ideal, but a disinfectant wipe often works just as well.
Place all current prescriptions and first aid supplies back in the cupboard in an organized, easy to access manner. Cross-reference these cabinet items with the list you got from the pharmacist and make note of any items that are missing or in low supply. This task is very important, but it doesn’t take much time. You’ll be done with this step in no time!
Replace items as needed
Finally, make a list of any prescriptions that are missing in order to replace them as soon as possible. We also recommend keeping a small supply of first aid supplies at home—here’s a list to get you started.
- A basic first aid kit that includes bandaids, gauze and antiseptic wipes
- Polysporin cream or a similar antibiotic ointment (ideal for small cuts or burns)
- Antacids (such as Tums), digestive aids and fever reducers/painkillers (Advil or Tylenol)
- Antihistamines for allergic reactions
- Topical pain relievers such as Voltaren
It may also be helpful to keep ear drops and/or eye drops on hand if you require those products on a regular basis. If your aging relative suffers from specific conditions like dry mouth or dermatological issues, add any necessary products and ensure that you keep an eye on their expiration dates. And if they use contact lenses or dentures, take stock of any supplies related to those items. You don’t want to run out of denture cleaner or another daily-use product!
Keeping your medicine cabinet clean and up-to-date is a simple task that can prevent medical mishaps at home and ensure that your aging loved one has everything they need at home. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or feedback, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!