Family emergencies strike unfortunately routinely, from a broken arm to a heart attack. Family health crises are among the most stressful for all of us. The best way to face an emergency is by being organized and prepared. Your lists will be what you rely on for information. These preparations can help you create the best plan prior to when an emergency happens.
Your Medical Health List
Each doctor you meet requests a list of health challenges, presciptions and supplments. Make this list easy to access by keeping it digitally in your Notes app, Evernote, or other smart phone app. The list can be shared with a family member in case of emergency. For health challenges, list the year and what happened (surgery, treatment). For presciptions and supplements, list the item, what that is treating, and the dosage. If you have a paper list, you can take a photo to keep in your phone as well.
Your Medical Plan and Doctor List
With frequent changes to medical plans and doctors, keep a list of your specialists, their phone numbers and their specialty in your smart phone contacts. Track your annual visits by making appointments that coincide with a birthday, a season (fall, winter, spring summer) or another significant milestone to remind you. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in keeping on track with annual visits to medical and dental professionals. Your own health care is as important as those in your family.
Ongoing health concerns
- Organizing your medical records is an important step for chronic illness. Keep a notebook to bring to your doctor’s office to keep current discussions and treatments. You will want to refer to this regularly with notes and updates. Organize your medical history in a file folder, by doctor or illness.
- Organizing your medications is one part of your ongoing health concerns. Fill day of the week, time of day pill organizers and set alarms to remind you to take medication. Place pills at the point of where they are taken, such as by your bed in the evening or in the kitchen for morning.
- When it comes to the many facets of an ongoing illness, share responsibility with family members. When my mom faced her illness, my responsibility was health care and my sister took on financial responsibilities. Confer weekly on these responsibilities so everyone is up to date. You can also create a google sheet to share information with family. Coordination is key to family communication.
Support for you and your family
Be ready for ongoing support for yourself and your self care. Friends and family will ask how they can help and be sure to give everyone a small responsibility. It can include setting up a Care Calendar for meals and transportation. Having someone attend the appointments can be helpful in capturing notes and keeping strong during the treatments. That support can be as small as dropping off a gallon of milk to being a listener when you are sad, anxious and afraid.
Take good care of yourself with good sleep and good nutrition. Get in bed on time and eat regular, balanced meals. It’s easy to get off track with both of these during a crisis.
Family emergencies are part of life transitions. We age and life happens. Our family ages and abilities diminish. Be organized and prepared to meet these transitions with positive actions.