Depending on how long you’ve been a caregiver, you may already be aware that being prepared is key to handling unexpected situations. Part of being prepared for dealing with emergencies when they pop up is having a plan in place. It can also help to have a “go bag” ready to grab in case of a hospital visit or other emergency. You might call these tools your “caregiver crisis kit,” and they can make you ready to deal with almost anything.
Creating a Plan.
Your crisis plan should be written down so that other caregivers can follow it even when you are not there. Some things you should include in the plan are:
- A list of all the older adult’s medications, including dosages and instructions for taking them. Also list any over-the-counter medications and supplements.
- Names and phone numbers of all medical professionals involved in the senior’s care.
- Copies of health insurance and Medicare ID cards.
- A copy of the older adult’s advanced directive or other legal paperwork concerning their care.
- Emergency contact information for family members and friends. Don’t forget your own!
- Personal information about the older adult, such as their full name, address, phone number, and birthdate. Include a copy of their driver’s license. Also, write down information about their likes and dislikes that may make their care easier.
In addition to the information above, the plan should also include information about who will sit with the senior if they are hospitalized, who will be responsible for notifying other people about the senior’s condition, and who will care for any pets in the home.
What to Put in a Go Bag.
There’s a difference between a caregiver’s “go bag” and an emergency preparedness kit that you might use in case of a natural disaster. (For more information about what to put in an emergency preparedness kit, visit the American Red Cross’s website.) A caregiver’s bag should include items like:
- A copy of the crisis plan.
- A sweater or blanket in case of cool temperatures or a cold room.
- A notebook and writing utensil.
- A book or magazine to read in case of boredom.
- Socks or slippers to keep feet warm.
- Personal care items like a spare toothbrush, lip balm, tissues, and travel sized personal care products.
- A snack.
- Bottle of water.
- A change of clothing.
While it may take some time to put together your caregiver crisis kit, you’ll be thankful for it when an unexpected situation arises. The above items are merely suggestions. You should personalize the older adult’s bag to their specific needs. For example, if the person has dementia and there’s a certain item or activity that calms them, be sure to include that in the bag.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Middletown, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Lares Home Care 888-492-3538 or 732-566-1112.