10 Items for a Caregiver’s Ready Bag

As a caregiver it is important to be prepared for unexpected developments at all times. A caregiver should have a ready bag handy for events like visits to the emergency room. Sometimes family caregivers can become overwhelmed by sudden events and their responsibilities and may feel they need more support.

Families looking to hire a Dayton home caregiver can reach out to Home Care Assistance. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers receive extensive ongoing training to ensure they provide the high-quality in-home care seniors need and deserve.

If you are a family caregiver, prepare a ready bag and pack the following 10 items.

1. Smartphone

In addition to being a communication lifeline, today’s smartphones have helpful apps and tools. Mobile apps give you access to weather, directions, and news. Your loved one can also use them as a source of entertainment, to read books, or play music and games.

You and your loved one should keep your smartphones in the ready bag. Store contact numbers of doctors, the pharmacy, family members, friends, services, and stores on each phone. Put the numbers on speed dial so you can access them by pressing one button.

Consider installing the Phone Tracker app on each phone. Should you and your loved one become separated, your phone’s GPS feature will locate the person carrying the phone. This app is especially helpful if your loved one has dementia and tends to wander. The technology is available free for both iOS and Android devices.

2. Medical Information

You can’t predict if or when your loved one will need urgent medical care. Knowing his or her medications, allergies, and medical history is vital to obtaining proper treatment.

Write down the names and dosages of all the medication your loved one takes. Document his or her medical history, allergies, and physicians. To track medical information, type it up on a computer and save the document. Update the data with any changes as they occur. Carry your loved one’s ID and health insurance cards.
Managing health conditions and scheduling doctor visits are a regular part of maintaining a high quality of life. This can be challenging for some seniors and their families, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Dayton, OH, elderly care experts to help their senior loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.

3. Pill Organizer 

Keep a 7-day pill organizer supplied with your loved one’s weekly medication regimen in the ready bag. If you have to go away unexpectedly for a prolonged period, your loved one’s health won’t be jeopardized. 

4. Healthy Snacks

Seniors typically have poor appetites and tend to get dehydrated. Keep small portions of nourishing foods in the bag to help your loved one prevent nutritional deficits. 

The choice of snack will depend on various factors, such as your loved one’s dentition, doctor recommendations, and dietary restrictions. Select food with healthy oils and reduced sugar and salt. Pack a water bottle.
Here are some on-the-go snacks suggested by Elder One Stop:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Granola, protein, or cereal bar
  • Packaged mini cheese rounds or string cheese stick
  • Yogurt cup
  • Applesauce cup

If you include perishable items in the bag, store them in an insulated carrier with a frozen cold pack. Remember to include napkins and utensils.

5. Incontinence Supplies

If your loved one is incontinent, you may need to keep more than spare underwear shields in the ready bag. Pack a change of clothes to keep him or her comfortable. Also, pack disposable gloves and garbage bags in case you need to clean up after an accident.

6. Hand Sanitizer

Seniors often have compromised immune systems, making them vulnerable to illness. Germs are easily transmitted from dirty surfaces, putting seniors at risk for getting sick if they touch their faces or eat without washing their hands.

Research shows people who use hand sanitizer are less likely to become ill. A study by Berkeley Wellness showed families who used hand sanitizers had 60 percent fewer infections over a 5-month period than families who didn’t use them.

Include a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol in the ready bag. Hand sanitizers with 40 percent or less alcohol leave 50 percent of the pathogens behind.

7. Small Flashlight

Keep a flashlight in the bag to light up the way when walking on sidewalks and streets at night. Walking in the dark can increase the risk of falls.

8. Pocket Calendar

Carry a calendar and pen for tracking appointments, medical tests, and scheduled visits to family, friends, and fun events. Keep a pen and notebook for jotting down related information.

9. First-Aid Kit

Prepare for minor incidents with a first aid kit full of medical supplies. For a small kit, you need basic items like disposable gloves, bandages, antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, alcohol swabs, gauze pads, scissors, tissues, tweezers, and small packs of aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Store the items in a plastic container. Alternatively, buy an assembled kit, sold at pharmacies.

10. Engaging Activity

Waiting in lines and for appointments can be more pleasurable with some form of preoccupation. Depending on your loved one’s cognition, pack a word search or crossword puzzle book, magazine, book, or headphones and an iPod with recordings of his or her favorite music. These items can supplement the entertainment available on your loved one’s smartphone.

Pack these 10 items and have a ready bag prepared for medical emergencies. Preparedness is an important part of your role as a family caregiver. It’s also vital to make sure you set aside time to recharge so you can provide better care for your loved one. In Dayton, OH, respite care is a great help to many families. Caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times, which puts family caregivers at risk for burnout. However, an in-home caregiver can take over your loved one’s care, allowing you the time you need to focus on your own health, maintain a full-time job, or care for other members of your family. Call and speak with an experienced Care Manager who can schedule a free consultation and customize a care plan for your loved one.

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