Planning Ahead: Creating an Emergency Caregiver Plan

Posted on May 15, 2020

Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, filled with gifted moments of love and accomplishment. It can also be physically and emotionally demanding. Especially for those in the sandwich generation— those responsible for both their children and their aging parents. It can be challenging to maintain a balance of caring for your children, your elderly parent or loved one, and yourself.

Caregiving can become even more difficult in the case of a personal crisis or emergency. Whether it’s a car accident, a personal health problem, or an unexpected financial concern, dealing with an emergency of your own can quickly cause you to become overwhelmed and fall short on your caregiving responsibilities. While these unexpected emergencies are stressful to you, they can also put your loved one at risk.

As a senior caregiver, one of the most responsible things you can do is to create an emergency plan in the event that you are unable to perform your caregiving duties. With a few simple steps and precautions, you can establish a plan that will keep your loved one safe and cared for in the event of an emergency.

Compile and Organize All Documents

Gather all of your parent’s essential medical, legal, and personal information into a binder or notebook. Make sure it’s easy to use and understand so that another family member or short-term senior caregiver could step in and smoothly take over. Some essential things to include are:

Legal Documents. These should include your loved one’s advanced or medical directive (also called a living will), power of attorney, and last will and testament. Make sure all these documents are up-to-date and completely understood by your loved one. If possible in your state, consider implementing durable power of attorney, which would protect an individual should their primary caregiver be completely incapacitated. 

Medical Information. Include all relevant health and medical-related information, such as complete medical history, current physician, and the physician’s contact information. You should also add a list of current medications and schedules, as well as pharmacist information.

Notes on Diet and Daily Routine. While you might be very familiar with your loved one’s daily routine, other family members may not be. Writing down a daily routine can make it easier for another caregiver to ensure that your loved one feels safe and at ease during a time that’s already disorderly and stressful. Maintaining a routine is especially important for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, as structure can reduce frustration and confusion. In your notes, also include remarks on your loved one’s diet, likes and dislikes, and anything else that may be of importance.

Find a Trustworthy Secondary Caregiver

In addition to creating a binder or folder with crucial health and wellness information, you should also take steps to find someone who will agree to step in to help if you are unable to care for your parent or family member.

Usually, another family member will be willing to lend a hand in the case of an emergency, but ensure that they understand the importance and responsibilities that come with senior caregiving.

Consider Respite Care Services

If you are unable to find a backup senior caregiver or are simply worried that an emergency plan will fall through, respite care can provide a valuable and dependable solution. Respite care offers a short-term solution in the event of caregiver emergencies, errands, or caregiver burnout.

The Pavilion Senior Living offers respite care services, or what we call our Guestpitality Program. These services are designed to give you, as a senior caregiver, a much-needed break while providing your parent or loved one assistance with daily tasks, dining, and activities. These services can also be an integral part of creating your caregiver emergency plan. Our care can be extremely beneficial if, for whatever reason, you are unable to perform your caregiving tasks but want assurance that your loved one is getting outstanding care.

When it comes to the health of your parent or loved one, it’s better to be overcautious than woefully unprepared. Creating an emergency senior caregiver plan is a critical step to ensure that your loved one gets the care that they need if you are unable to do so.

Respite care at The Pavilion Senior Living in Lebanon and Carthage, Tennessee, can benefit you and your loved one by providing quality, compassionate care whenever and wherever you need it. Contact us today to learn more!