Family Caregivers Prepare for Unexpected Emergencies

preparing for unexpected emergencies

Family caregivers must prepare for unexpected emergencies. Is your family prepared?  

If unexpected emergencies occur while you are away from home; a caregiver or family member may have to make decisions quickly concerning your loved one. After being unable to reach you, and calling 911, what will happen next? If the patient is unable to communicate due to dementia or Alzheimer’s or other issues, how will others know vital information?

If you are not immediately available, who will have needed information?

Where will the client be taken? Does the one in charge know her physician’s name? Her medicines? Her allergies? Where to find you?

While caring for Mother, agencies would often send caregivers in who did not know us. Even family and friends who helped may not have automatically known the answers to the above questions. Most would not know her full name or her physician’s name.

One simple card solves a multitude of problems.

Early in Mother’s care, I neatly printed her personal information on a small card to be given to ambulance or emergency room personnel or others caring for Mother. Perhaps I went overboard, but I taped copies of the card to the wall in every room in the house including bathrooms and kitchen. A larger, more prominent copy was posted in her room and by the front door.

Here are what I believe to be important items to include on such a card:

• The person’s legal name
• Address where person lives
• Relationship and names of others living in the home
• The person’s birth date
• Physician’s name
• Hospital of choice
• List of all medicines & supplements
• List of any known allergies
• Abilities or disabilities

For our situation, I also listed our vehicles and license plates as well as where I thought we might be found during the day. This was to help in case a patrolman needed to find us in the event the phones didn’t work.

I realize these types of lists depend upon the patient, the circumstances, the area you live in, and other factors. For me, this list gave me great peace of mind and was actually helpful to me on those several occasions when we had to call an ambulance to take Mother to the hospital.

We all care for others in one way or another.

Why not look at your family and consider a list like this for each of them? Maybe in the glove compartment of your car and by your telephone, and be prepared in the event of an emergency.


P.S. Learn more from my memoir of eight years of caregiving in MY MOTHER MY CHILD. The 2nd edition includes a study guide at the end of each chapter making it a meaningful gift item for those you love.

Easy Workable Solutions for Time Management

Spring is in the AirSpring is in the air; time to play. Yet, for many, caring for family and home is a never-ending job with nothing left for self or friends. Let these easy, workable solutions for time management encourage you.

Has this happened to you recently?
A friend invited you to coffee on a beautiful spring day; you declined–no time for such frivolity. As you hang up, anger builds and you are ready for a private pity-party while the work continues to mount.

It happened to me, this very week; the results may surprise you.    
Instead of a pity-party, I chose to follow the instruction from St. Francis of Assisi: “Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.”

1. Make a plan and stick to it.
Armed with a pad, pen, and determination, I listed my tasks. First things that were absolutely necessary to get done today. Secondly, those things that could be done in steps—bite-sized chunks instead of the entire project at once. Lastly, I listed those things that someone else could do for me (if they would) or things that could be left undone.

2. Avoid a trip to the store if possible; adjust the recipe, use what you have already.
I was on a mission. In record time I made a casserole for dinner using items in the pantry and freezer instead of going to the store. While the casserole baked, I quickly chopped up a salad and washed what dishes I had used. Then I cleaned the kitchen and finished what was necessary in the bedroom and bathrooms and even swept the front porch.

3. Shake the habit of piddling with papers; put them away as you come to them.
I saw that I had time now to clear off the papers and “stuff” that had made a home on the dining table. Here is where I often get bogged down; I feel I must read every piece of paper on the table. Today my priority was to accomplish my goal and clear the table. Anything not needing immediate attention was put in a small box to sort later as I sat to rest or TV.

4. Choose only one or two books to leave out to read; put the rest away.
For me, time had come to keep a few and pass others on to be used. And, I only left out two or three to browse or read; others put neatly on a shelf and off the tables.

5. There is truth in the statement: A woman’s work is never done; you never catch up!
I discovered much of my concern was projects that I would not get done anyway; there will always be something left undone. On my third list dusting the blades on the ceiling fans, some mending, and washing the quilts could wait until a more opportune time. I could add mending to tomorrow’s list and make sure to include it in my schedule.

6 Take time to reward yourself for a day well spent.
Wow! It’s still early in the afternoon and I am through with today’s chores. Where is my telephone? I could go for coffee after all; or, I might reward myself with a short nap!
To everything there is a season, and a time for everything under the sun … “Ecclesiastes


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