As the new year begins, it’s a good idea to reassess current needs & practices to be sure that they are doing what they are meant to be doing.  It may be necessary to make adjustments to your caregiving as your caree’s condition evolves or as the financial picture changes.  This comes with the territory, so it’s best to accept it.  It is easy to get comfortable with a particular routine that has worked for a long time.  That’s fine, until the need for that routine changes.  It’s good to step back and to look at the big picture in order to make things run a little more smoothly.  The added bonus of doing this is that you can anticipate future situations and start getting ready for them so you won’t be caught entirely off guard and unprepared.

One of those things is fire safety.  It’s definitely not something I usually think is going to happen to us!  After coming across a few articles on disabilities, however, you’d better believe that we talked about it at home and came up with a plan!  Depending on the condition, a caregiver can take the appropriate measures to ensure safety for frail, blind, deaf or mobility-impaired loved ones.  The article below suggests having a small fire extinguisher near the caree and keeping a cell phone on the bed in case mobility is difficult.  My husband has his cell phone on him at all times, even in the bathroom (which is where a significant number of falls occurs)!

Something else to think about is important papers: how long should we keep them?  The article below has recommendations for various types of documents such as bills, tax, bank & medical records.  It will also make life easier for your important papers, especially Social Security, Medicare, wills, power of attorney, insurance, medical records and bills, to be organized in a way that is easy for you to access & to use.

A third article talks about financial help with hearing aids and a fourth article discusses health care options such as Medicare, Medicaid, programs for people to live at home longer or mental health services.  Is it time to consider other living options or outside help?  Has your loved one’s condition deteriorated to the point of being unsafe at home or beyond your medical training?  Remember that products and services exist to help with caregiving.  As a caregiver, it is important to evaluate your situation periodically to see if something needs to change.  I remind myself often of Heraclitus‘ philosophy, quoted and adapted by many others: “The only constant is change.”  He must have been talking about caregiving!

 

 

Fire safety tips for elderly people with special health needs

Important Paperwork: What to Keep and for How Long

Financial assistance for hearing aids

Public, Private and Community-Based Health Care Options