Tornadoes of fires are not the only emergencies that we should prepare for. Knowing the location of your first aid kit, fire extingusiher and extra water stored in the closet are just some of the important things. Being my mother’s caregiver meant that I always had an extra supply of her medication. I hadn’t planned for an elder-care emergency, when I had to drop everything at work and rush to my mother’s side because of a fall. It seems like something that I couldn’t plan for but in the end, I learned some valuable lessons about what can mitigate a tough situation.
1. Talk to work about your situation.
Becoming familiar with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act is a good idea but it’s also important to have a conversation with your supervisor and any of your employees. I keep a list of where my projects stand so that at any moment, if I am called away, one of my employees can pick up where I left off and my boss is never wondering if our project will be done on time. I make a file with all my documentation and whom on my team my boss can talk to regarding specific tasks if I am not there. I saved it on a public drive so my boss can access it.
2. Create a senior care emergency fact sheet.
Seniors see many doctors and specialists. Create a fact sheet with all of the names and phone numbers and the last date the senior was seen. Although the contact list will be helpful, I found it even more important to have a worksheet that lists all the visits to her doctors and what was the result. Finally, the fact sheet should have any and all prescription medication, vitamins, and allergies. This will be incredibly helpful when your senior is waiting to be treated for an injury.
3. Keep a file of medical and personal information
The last thing you want to be doing when an emergency happens is going through your senior’s purse or desk trying to find information to fill out forms. Photocopies of her social security card, driver’s license, passport and medical insurance cards will be handy in an emergency in case this information isn’t readily available or misplaced. Don’t expect to be able to put two thoughts together when an emergency happens. Keeping a list of people to notify in an emergency will help if you need to pass the list off to someone else to make the calls.
These steps only take a few moments to prepare but can save you a world of effort. By organizing these things ahead of time, you can focus on the medical treatment in an emergency situation and not cause yourself undue stress from trying to gather information or talk to work. Remember, you are trying to control aspects of a situation that will be an emergency situation. The best thing you can do for your loved one and yourself is to be prepared.
About the Author
The Kansas City based author recently helped her mother, a woman with elder care needs, make in-home care arrangements through Benefits of Home in KC.