Expecting the Unexpected

November 4, 2014
memory loss

Home caregivers are prepared for everything.

Home caregivers must often deal with more challenges than must other people; that’s why they need to expect the unexpected and be prepared for anything. Of course, home caregivers are only human, even if they perform like super-humans, and no person can be fully prepared for every single eventuality. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent idea for home caregivers to take a few minutes to think over their daily and weekly routines to try to spot potential trouble spots.

Below are a few ways that you can prepare for the unexpected. Even if these examples do not apply to your particular situation, they may bring to mind other situations for which you may wish to prepare.

Feed the family

What if you are responsible not only for caring for an elderly relative, but also for creating meals for your children and spouse? If so, be prepared in case an elderly loved one must be rushed to the doctor before you’ve made dinner. If a contingency plan is in place, you will feel less stress. Examples of contingency plans may include keeping a supply of frozen dinners for microwaving or leaving money in one particular place for ordering pizza.

Work from home – productively

Home caregivers who work often find that their workday is interrupted by unexpected events. If your work situation allows for some flexibility, see if you can arrange with your employer to work from home during days when unexpected situations arise. In order to make this option productive, get into the habit of emailing or storing online documents that relate to current and upcoming projects, so that you’re fully prepared to work wherever you are.

Shop ahead

As much as is economically feasible, caregivers should stock up on non-perishable food, medications, and cleaning supplies. If a situation arises which prevents you from getting to the store for a period of time, having these items on hand will ensure that the household can continue to run as smoothly as possible until someone can make a trip to the store.

Be (even more) organized

It’s important to have things organized so that you can move quickly if an emergency arises. Keep all important papers related to your elderly loved one’s health (medical records, insurance cards, driver’s license or other ID, and social security card) in one place. Keep an up-to-date record of the recipient’s medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and dietary requirements. It also doesn’t hurt to have an overnight bag packed in the event of a last-minute hospital visit.

Of course, this list is just the tip of the iceberg. Home caregivers should figure out what is necessary for their specific needs and make contingency plans based upon that information.

Writer, Craig Butler

Craig Butler has been writing on a wide range of topics for more than fifteen years. As the National Communications Director for the Cooley's Anemia Foundation, Craig regularly writes on a range of health and medical topics. Among the many projects he has written for the Foundation is the Cooley's Anemia Storybook, a collection of original short stories for children with the blood disorder Cooley's Anemia. His freelance work has ranged from reviewing moves and CDs to creating entertainment-related stories about baldness, to creating text for comic strips. Craig looks forward to having a dialogue with you about senior care and issues of concern.

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