5 Tips for Family Caregivers: Use These Tips to Prepare for an Emergency
Caring for an elderly family member can be a full-time job, and when you are serving as a caregiver you need to be ready for anything and everything. Emergencies are not uncommon in these kinds of situations, and the right preparation could literally mean the difference between life and death.
If you want to be prepared for an emergency, you cannot afford to leave anything to chance. Here are some tips to enhance the safety of your elderly loved ones, so you can rest easy and enjoy your time together.
Keep a Go Bag by the Front Door
If you do need to call for an ambulance or first responders, it is only a matter of minutes before they will be at your front door. With the health and well-being of your loved one on the line, you do not want to spend those precious minutes hunting down essential items, so make sure you have them ahead of time.
Stocking an emergency go-bag and keeping it by the front door is a good idea whether you are a caregiver or not. You never know when a fire, flood, or another emergency will force an evacuation, and having some basic supplies will make your life a lot easier. Having a go-bag with extra clothes, a list of medications, and a spare charger for your smartphone will also set your mind at ease if your loved one does need hospital or emergency care.
Make a List of Your Family Member's Medications
If your older family member is taking multiple medications, keeping them all straight can be a real challenge. And even if you know what your loved one is taking, communicating that information to first responders, medical specialists and hospital personnel can be difficult.
That is why it is so important to have a list of your loved one's medication written down, preferably on a wallet card or similar format. Whether you make the card yourself or get one from your loved one's doctor, this simple step could save a life.
Record Contact Information for Doctors and Specialists
Keeping track of your loved one's medical appointments can be difficult, especially if you do not know who to call or how to contact them. If you are providing even part-time care for an aging family member, make sure you have complete contact information for every one of their doctors and specialists.
You can keep this information in your smartphone, so the phone numbers you need will be available at a glance. It is also helpful to have a written list of names and contacts, so you can get in touch even when your battery is dying.
Take Notes During Medical Appointments
If you are serving as a caregiver for your mom or dad, you probably accompany them to their medical appointments. Whether you serve as a driver, emotional support, or both, it is important to take careful notes while the doctor is talking.
Your aging loved one may not fully understand what is being said, and having those written notes will make your life, and theirs a lot easier. Even more importantly, the notes you take can enhance the safety of your elderly family member, helping you avoid dangerous misunderstandings that could otherwise result in an emergency room visit or hospital stay.
Maintain a File with Information About Past Hospitalizations, Medical Diagnoses, and Other Important Details
Taking careful notes during medical appointments is important, but so is what you do with those notes when you return home. If you want to provide the best possible care for your family member, start by keeping a file with information on past hospital stays, medical diagnoses, treatments, and other vital data.
This kind of file can be especially important if your aging family member is seeing a number of unaffiliated specialists and medical personnel. Data sharing between disparate clinics and medical groups can be spotty at best, and keeping detailed records is a great way to keep everyone on the same page.
Caring for an elderly family member can be difficult, but there are things you can do to lighten the load while enhancing their safety. Whether you are providing 24/7 support for a loved one with dementia, respite relief for a sibling, or something in between, the tips listed above can make your life, and theirs, a lot easier.
Comfort Keepers can Help®
At Comfort Keepers, we provide support to family caregivers through respite care. Our team of compassionate caregivers can provide quality in-home care to your loved one and offer you time to focus on other obligations or take a much-needed break. To learn more call us; (763) 400-8653