The cold weather brings snow and ice, which can lead to falls, which in turn can bring a trip to the emergency room. The flu season is upon us. And wintertime dehydration is one of the leading causes of hospitalizations in persons over 65 years of age. Good preplanning for emergencies makes an unexpected hospitalization easier for everyone, most especially for someone living with dementia. It is helpful to have ready and available:
- A list of all physicians, medications (including over-the-counter), primary diagnoses, any other medical conditions
- Name your loved-one prefers to be called
- Sleeping habits/preferences (i.e. gets up often during the night)
- Information concerning vision and hearing (i.e. has hearing aids but won’t wear them)
- Communication/Language difficulties
- Any disease related behaviors and the best ways to respond
- A list of things the person will need assistance with or will need to have done for them (i.e. can’t select from menus, needs help opening milk container, meat must be cut into bite size pieces, stand-by assist toileting, etc.)
- Who’s who? Your loved one may tend to refer to daughter/wife as “mother” or husband as “brother,” or talk about themselves in third person. A written explanation, perhaps posted in the room where they won’t notice it, might be helpful for caregivers.
A little preparation time can make a big difference for your loved one (and yourself) in case of emergency. Keep this information in your purse, on the refrigerator, or in car glove box for easy access. You’ll be glad you did!
By Pam Kovacs Johnson