As adult children of elderly parents, it’s something that we all dread: an emergency that happens while your parent is alone. Avoiding the issue won’t make it go away. Instead, it needs to be faced head on. Preparing for potential emergencies will help us all have peace of mind.
There is something referred to as the “golden hour.” This is the time when prompt medical treatment can mean the difference between life and death. With this in mind, here are some steps that you can take to ensure that your loved one gets the emergency care that he or she needs in the timeliest way possible.
In case of emergency, you should have all pertinent health information prominently displayed where emergency care workers can readily spot it. In the home, placing a list of medications, health conditions, and emergency contacts on the refrigerator door is a good plan. A similar list should also be kept in the glove compartment of the car and in a wallet or purse. You can even tape a copy on the back of a cell phone or on a walker. If a hat is worn frequently, keep a copy of the emergency information under the hat’s crown.
Here are some specific things that your list should include:
- Doctor’s information
Your doctor will have access to your complete medical history and may be able to advise emergency personnel more fully.
Some people think that this should only be a list of only prescription medications should be listed. However, because over-the-counter medications, supplements, and vitamins can affect how other medications absorb into your system, they should be included on the list. Make sure that you update this list as needed and include the dosages for each medication.
- Medication and food allergies, restrictions, and sensitivities
Latex, penicillin, Celiac disease, nut allergies, etc.
- Medical conditions
Heart conditions, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, etc.
- Surgical history
Some surgeries may have an impact on the type of treatment you receive.
- Emergency contact
Make sure that you talk with the person whom you wish to list as an emergency contact. If he or she agrees to be your contact, then you will need to include home, work, and cell numbers on your list. Don’t forget to give your emergency contact a copy of the list. (The list should also include contact information for people whom you wish your emergency contact to call in case of emergency (children, friends, employers, etc.).
- Your Power Of Attorney
You may wish to have a power of attorney established in the event that you are incapacitated. You will need to sit down with a lawyer to get this set up. The contact information for your POA should be on your list as well.
This may seem like a long list, but all the information suggested is vital. However, when preparing the list, do not include any less-than-critical information so as to keep the list as efficient and easy-to-read as possible. Finally, make sure that the list itself is properly labeled and easy to find.
Want to get started now preparing for potential emergencies? We’ve made forms available online that you can download, print, fill out, and start using right now. It’s a good idea to print each form onto a brightly colored piece of paper so that it will be quickly seen by emergency personnel.
Don’t forget to keep your list current by updating it whenever anything changes.
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