When we have young children, we think about who might take care of them if we are not able to do so. But we often don’t make such plans when we are a caregiver for a parent or other elderly adult, even though the person we care for may need us just as much as our children did. And we also aren’t as comfortable asking friends for help in caring for an aging loved one as we probably were in asking them to watch our kids for a few hours.
The first step is to make a plan – if you are a primary caregiver, who is there to step in when you can’t? There are a number of things that might prevent you from fulfilling your caregiving role – what if you have an accident that lays you up for a few weeks? Need surgery? Become seriously ill? Even the flu can keep you away, not just because you need to rest, but because you don’t want to expose your loved one to an illness that could be far more serious for them. And, let’s face it, you may just want to feel like you can take a vacation!
Assisting Hands serving Columbus, OH can be your caregiver backup plan – we offer respite care and fill in caregiving for all sorts of situations. Our caregivers are ready to step in and give you the peace of mind you need to take care of yourself. Click here to read more about how we support our caregivers in the field.
There are some practical steps you can take to be sure you are ready to turn over the caregiving reins quickly and efficiently:
- Document what you do for your loved one. Do you prepare meals? Help with medications? Clean the house? Whatever you are doing day to day, write it down so the person who takes over for you knows what needs to happen.
- Create a back-up caregiver list. Your immediate go-to list may be nearby family or friends – but that may be a limited resource. Be sure to add Assisting Hands serving Columbus, OH to your back-up list.
- Make sure there is a complete medical history available. This should ALWAYS be kept up-to-date and a copy should be placed on or in the freezer door – that’s the first place paramedics look to find this information. (Someday we’ll have to investigate how that practice started and write a blog about that!)
- In addition to medical history, names of medical providers, insurance, and other information needs to be readily available. Also, a calendar with upcoming appointments should be kept with the name of the physician, location, office phone number, and time of the appointment.
Once you have gathered all this information, don’t keep it to yourself – make sure your back-up caregivers have access to it. There are some easy ways to do this:
- Keep medical appointment information on a wall calendar in your loved one’s kitchen and make sure everyone knows that’s where it’s kept.
- As noted, keep medical history on or in the freezer, this will make it not only available to your back up caregiver but to emergency personnel as well.
- An easy way to share information with others is to create a shared document, such as a Google doc, that you can allow others to access. This way your back-up caregivers will always have access to the latest version. There are also online platforms available that are specially created for storing caregiving information.
If you are facing a situation where you know you will need caregiving help, be sure to give us a call at Assisting Hands serving Columbus, OH. We can also step in if you have an emergency and can usually have someone in place within 24 hours. You can rely on us to offer caring, compassionate care to your loved ones.