These are strange times. We all feel it. We’re in our homes, venturing out cautiously, masks have become a part of daily life. I constantly have the eerie feeling I’m in a dystopian movie. All families are finding new ways to be together and take care of each other. In families already dealing with underlying disabilities these new stressors can be terrifying.
Families with members who have disabilities have always had to learn to zig and zag since society isn’t always easy to navigate, so adaptability is a skill that has been developed by necessity. Now more than ever that adaptability is being tested. It’s no news to you that advocacy and determination are now, more than ever needed.
One thing that helps to alleviate anxiety is preparation. Here are a few things you can do that may help you sleep at night:
Make a plan. If your loved one gets ill and needs to go to the hospital, there’s a good chance you will not be able to be with them.
- A page of instructions to leave with their caregivers is a good idea. This should list everything the hospital workers will need to know.
- A list of medications, phone numbers and other information will be helpful.
- Additionally you will want to put some thought into what kinds of things your loved one will need during a hospital stay. Are there special foods that they should bring?
- Specifically, a plan for communication between you and them will be key. Do they have a phone or an iPad? Is there a specific app you use? Do you have rechargers?
It’s important to realize if they do go to the hospital you may not be able to see them in person for several days. As upsetting as this scenario is, thinking about it ahead of time, can give you some peace of mind and allow you to let it go.
By contrast, what if you were to become ill? Do you have a designated person who can step in to care for your loved one? If so, it’s important to be sure they are adequately prepared to do so. A plan as to where they would stay is essential. Would your caregiver stay at the home with your family member or would your family member go there? I suggest a written list that outlines a typical day including meals, exercise, medications, pet care and anything else that will make your loved one feel safe and secure in a confusing and scary time.
Having a plan in place and not needing it is always better than not having a plan when you do need it. Stay safe, and enjoy your time together.