The road of life has its share of bumps, ruts and potholes. We do our best to avoid the hazards, but sometimes it isn’t enough. No matter how hard we try, we’re bound to brush up against some unexpected circumstances.
For a caregiver, routine is a recommendation. Most professionals encourage a caregiving structure. And while no two days are exactly the same, there’s a certain rhythm that many caregivers come to expect with their dependents.
Now that the Baby Boomer generation has begun to retire, the number of retirees and caregivers has increased. While improvements in technology, especially in the home security field are happening all the time, some things are unavoidable and even the most advanced technology can’t stop an emergency from happening. Home automation and medical emergency notification features are technologies that may make your life as a caregiver easier.
So what happens when there’s a shakeup at home?
Have a contingency plan.
If you don’t have a contingency plan, now’s the time to make one. Grab a pen and some paper and walk yourself through the possibilities. It can be a tough conversation to have with yourself, but it could also be the one of the most important.
Ask yourself these questions:
How safe is the house to begin with? What kind of security is already in place? If you have all the right bells and whistles, then make sure you know how to use them. Know what tools you can use to help your care recipient through his or her day, and then think about what else you should have. If you need to leave for periods at a time, you might want to look into security systems.
Where are the first aid supplies located? If your care recipient needs certain medications or treatments, you should know where to find them. Put together an emergency bag that contains everything you and your care recipient would need if you were forced to evacuate the house.
What are the risks? Your plan should reflect your physical location and the type of care you’re administering. Is weather a factor? What about less-recognizable things like air quality or carbon monoxide? No matter how big or small, it’s important to account for every potential pitfall.
What should I do in the event of a fire? A house fire forces you to act quickly while keeping your cool, which isn’t easy. Avoid panicking by setting some ground rules for you and your care recipient beforehand. Follow all the standard fire safety guidelines, and establish the fastest exit route from any given room. Investing in fire safety equipment as part of the home is also a good idea.
Who can cover me in the event of an emergency? You have a responsibility as a caregiver, but there are times when your health has to come first. If you need to get yourself to a hospital or take a day off, who can take over for you? Once you have someone in mind, reach out to him or her and arrange a line of communication.