Tips for Seniors

Medication Safety Tips for Seniors

Nov 8, 2020

Provided by Cindy Gessouroun, Registered Nurse


The Basics 5 R’s: The Rights of Medication Administration

  1. Right Drug:  

Make sure you know the name of each drug and what it is for. Write down all your medicines on a single paper and keep it in a safe place. Always have a list with you for Doctor appointments. Your Doctor needs to know all the medicines prescribed by another Doctor.

  1. Right Time: 

The weekly pill boxes are a great tool to help take medicines on time and every day. Load them one day every week and keep the box close to the area you eat your meals. Do not double up and take the morning dose at night if you forgot. Check with you doctor’s office about how to manage an accidental skip.

  1. Right Person:

 Keep your medicines separate from anyone else living in your home. DO NOT share medication or loan or offer a prescribed medicine to your spouse or anyone. Do not accept medication from a friend. Dosages are often different and only a doctor should recommend a new medicine.

  1. Right Route:

Make sure all medication even drops are only used in the correct way. Store medication in refrigerator if the label says. Also discard old over the counter products with expired use by dates.

  1. Right Dose:

 Only take the amount prescribed. Do not take a larger dose thinking it may help you more. It can be dangerous. Do not skip doses or take half a pill to make the prescription last longer.


More Important Safety Tips:


  • Turn on a light . Do not take medicine in the dark, otherwise you might make a mistake.
  • Report Problems. Call your Dr if you have trouble with your prescribed medicine or an over the counter medicine. The doctor might know of a different drug to treat your problem that does not cause side effects for you.
  • Tell your Doctor about alcohol and tobacco use. These can affect how well your medication works so always be honest with your doctor.
  • Check before stopping a medicine. Take medicine until it is finished or your doctor stops the medication. 
  • Discard all unused medications safely. You can take them to your doctors office to be thrown out.
    Do not over use over the counter drugs. For example, if you only have a runny nose do not take a cough and cold syrup. Be careful with Tylenol and Advil. Too much is hard on your kidneys. Always ask your doctor what is best for you to take.