Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Planning Ahead for Emergencies Helps Ease Stress

It’s midnight. The phone rings. Mom’s had a fall. She’s being taken to the hospital. Now what?

It’s the call everyone dreads. Whether it comes as a result of an accident, a fire or a medical emergency, your life—and that of your parent—can change in an instant. What can you do to get ready?

Packing an emergency bag is one of the best things you can do to be prepared. Here’s what to include.

  1. Medical information. Pack information about blood type, allergies, immunizations, and communication difficulties. Note whether your parent uses alcohol or tobacco.
     
  2. Insurance information and important identification cardsInclude originals and copies of your parent’s Medicare card, Social Security card and claim forms. Don’t forget your parent’s driver’s license or other photo identification cards.
     
  3. List of people to contact. Home care providers and others who come to your parent’s home to provide services will need to be contacted to stop services.
     
  4. Clothing. Pack a suitcase for yourself and one for your parent. Include several changes of clothing along with toiletries.
     
  5. Food Preferences. Make a list of your parent’s favorite foods as well as foods he or she doesn’t enjoy as much. Mention any food allergies.
     
  6. Medications. Don’t forget to include a list of all medications your parent is taking.
     
  7. Special needs items. Include eye glasses, contact lenses and solution, hearing aids and extra batteries.
     
  8. Cell phone with charger. This will come in handy when it’s time to call concerned relatives and providers on your list of people to contact.
     
  9. Mobility devices. Pack canes, walkers and other adaptive equipment.
     
  10. Extra set of car and house keys. If your parent is hospitalized for any length of time, having extra keys will make it easier to take care of business on his or her behalf.
     
  11. List of passwords. This is especially important if your loved one pays bills or does other business online.
     
  12. Powers of attorney. These will come in handy if your loved one becomes incapacitated as a result of the accident or illness.
     
  13. Advance directives. Keep in mind that the Elder Law Practice can email you a PDF of your loved one’s healthcare powers of attorney. You can pull up the email on your phone for doctors. 

Don’t be surprised if your parent resists your desire to assemble an emergency kit. Many elders believe there’s no need to plan ahead because if something happens, you’ll be there for them. Gently remind your loved one that a little bit of planning will help you give him or her the best care in every situation.

 

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