Caregiver Toolkit: Caring for an aging adult, a family member, or anyone else that needs a little bit of help can be rewarding. However, being a caregiver is never easy and takes a lot of work, proper planning, patience, and commitment, but this can eventually feel quite stressful.
And knowing that being someone’s caregiver is a huge responsibility, it pays to have an efficient toolkit with you. Having one can help ensure everything that is needed to safeguard the health of your loved one is in place and aids in making all the work easier.
To start, your caregiver toolkit should allow and equip you to handle any unexpected situations that may arise when taking care of a loved one. And as such, here’s a list of top things you should add to your caregiver toolkit.
- Proper Medication Management
As a caregiver, word to the wise is that you need to take proactive steps to prevent an avoidable medical emergency and eventual patient hospitalization. This is where proper medication management comes in handy, especially considering the patient you’re looking after may have numerous prescribed medications.
In this case, it’d be worth noting that the slightest mistake when taking medications may result in a life-threatening situation, but this can all be avoided by having a medication spreadsheet or log.
Consequently, log all medication being used by your patient, including the following details:
- Frequency to use medication
- The number of refills and the refill date
- The doctor who prescribed the medication, when it should be administered, and why
It’s also recommended that you get medication from a specific pharmacy or work with a single pharmacy and have this list in your caregiver toolkit. More so, you should also have a pill organizer and a smart alarm pillbox that automatically alerts you when it’s time to administer the medication.
If your patient is taking other medications, such as over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements, make sure to mention them in your record too. This is because, in some cases, these may cause other reactions when taken along with the patient’s prescription medicine. You can bring a copy of this medication spreadsheet to all the routine medical appointments and consult the patient’s physician about this.
- Essential Documents And Paperwork
One of the most critical items in a caregiver toolkit is a proper document storage system. After all, as a caregiver for the elderly or a family member needing medical assistance, you want to be in a position to quickly access any of your loved one’s documents at a moment’s notice.
And that is why it’s essential to have a safe or file box to store all relevant paperwork and documents related to your patient. Doing this allows you to be more organized. And more so, help spare you and your loved one the trouble and stress during a medical emergency.
Some of the patient’s documents you need to prepare beforehand and store in your document storage system include:
- Health insurance details and other appropriate insurance policies
- Health history for the previous ten years
- Family and friends’ contact information
- Doctor’s and other healthcare providers’ contact details
- Last will and testament, power of attorney, living will, and medical power of attorney
- Financial details such as banking information and portfolio of other necessary financial material
When organizing these documents, consider creating a labeling system to enable easy access to the paperwork needed. In addition, if the patient’s information can be accessed online, it’s recommended to create a bookmark on your computer, where you can quickly access such details. And for security purposes, enforce a strong password to limit access to confidential documents.
- Care Team Planner Or Calendar
Being organized is essential if you’re a caregiver because it helps you become more efficient in your role. And as such, a planner or calendar can help you easily remember important schedules and dates such as doctor’s appointments.
In addition, a caregiver calendar can also enable you to get help from family members, which is vital to ensure that everybody is involved and up-to-date with their loved one’s wellbeing. This includes knowing details such as understanding the appointment dates and other critical dates.
You can sort out the care team calendar in a traditional way, which involves a physical printout of the calendar or planner. But to provide you with ease and convenience, various apps can help you with this. Some calendar apps can even allow you to list down specific tasks that the family and friends can share and take part in.
- List Of Home Adjustments Catering To The Patient’s Needs
Taking care of seniors can be quite a complex and challenging feat. Of course, you’d want nothing but the best for them, but at the same time, you don’t want them feeling limited by the care and assistance being given to them.
This is especially true since, despite being physically challenged to do certain activities, seniors still want to enjoy the freedom of living and moving independently. And as their caregiver, you may need to assess their living situations. For instance, you can list down possible modifications that can enable a senior-friendly and safe environment for them to live in.
Here are some possible home adjustments and improvements worth noting:
- Adding grab rails next to the toilet and shower
- Installing handrails to the stairs
- Investing in a stair chair lift
- Setting up motion detection lights and nightlights in dark spaces
- Removing any clutter and correctly positioning furniture to ensure there’s enough space to walk around the house safely
- Adding non-skid bathmats on the bathroom floor and nonslip adhesive strips on the stairways
Having such additions can help seniors live independently and safeguard them from possible injuries while undertaking their daily tasks.
The Bottom Line
Being a caregiver takes a lot of commitment and dedication. While it can be an overwhelming role to partake in, caring for an elderly or a family member needing medical assistance can be fulfilling.
That said, as a caregiver, it’s recommended that you have a toolkit with you to help you learn your way around this role. Having a toolkit enables you to be organized, which certainly goes a long way in helping you be more efficient. And if you didn’t know what to get for your caregiver toolkit, this guide has outlined some of the essential things worth adding.