SAVVY CAREGIVER

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#11- YOUR HOME MEDICINE CABINET

      


Having all the right things in your home medicine cabinet can surely make your role as a caregiver a lot easier. Now I use the term “medicine cabinet” loosely here, but you get the idea. Whether you keep your supplies in a traditional bathroom medicine cabinet, in a special closet or even in an old shoe box, here are the 10 basic medical supplies that should be kept in every home.


1- Any prescription drugs your loved one is taking. Make sure you keep these drugs in a dry location. And, if necessary, get childproof caps to prevent young people from getting into them. I also recommend you purchase a weekly holder, available at any drugstore, which allows you to put the pills in slots by time of day and day of the week. This helps you or your loved one remember when to take the medication.

2- Pain relievers such as aspirin or aspirin substitute. 

3- Ipecac to induce vomiting. Never administer without doctor’s advice. 

4- Antacid for gastrointestinal distress.

5- Antidiarrheal medication.

6- Petroleum  jelly for dry skin and skin irritation.

7- Laxative

8- Salt, a natural antiseptic.

9- Thermometer 

10-First-aid kit including antibiotic ointment, antiseptic solution (hydrogen peroxide) ice pack, gauze, adhesive and gauze pads, bandages, cotton and cotton tipped swabs, hydrocortisone cream, scissors, soap, tissues, tweezers and a first-aid manual. 


Of course, based on your loved one’s needs, add anything else you feel would be necessary. Don’t forget extra batteries for hearing aids, blood sugar testing or any other devices your loved one may use. If your loved one wears glasses a spare set would be important. 


I also recommend that you have a cane, or maybe a walker in the house in case there are issues with 

dizziness or walking. You can usually pick these up free at senior centers or through your church, synagogue or a second hand store.


Make sure you keep tabs on supplies you use and refill them promptly.


Also make a list of essential telephone numbers you might need to reach in an emergency and put copies of that list in your medicine cabinet, first-aid kit or anywhere else you keep medical and health supplies. Be sure to include numbers for the police, fire, ambulance, Poison Control Center along with your family physician and any specialists. 


Accidents and minor injuries are common in every household, but they can be especially frequent in a home with an infirm or disabled person. So it’s best to be ready. Have all your supplies at hand, so that if something does occur you are able to easily and effectively handle it.