Preparedness is one of the most important tools that you can have as a family caregiver. It is extremely important to be prepared for the challenges and issues that you might face as you are caring for your parent, both when you know that they are coming and when they are unexpected. There are many things that you likely know to keep in your vehicle for when you are out of the home with your parent, but there are some other things that you might not immediately think of to keep in your car that can help you to be better prepared and more confident.
Some useful items that you might not think of to keep in your car but that can help you as a family caregiver include:
-Baby wipes. Flush-able baby wipes can be extremely useful in many situations. These wipes are fantastic for wiping off hands when running water is not available, cleaning faces, wiping spills off of clothing so that they do not set, and even cleaning up messes inside the car. During the summer months, consider keeping them in a cooler with an ice pack to provide a soothing wipe for the back of an overheated person’s neck.
-Zipper bags. Large zipper bags can be very beneficial for holding clothing that gets soiled, trash, and other items that need to be thrown away or further managed. They can also be used to store leftover snacks or food.
-Towels. Having blankets in the car can be invaluable during cooler weather, but you shouldn’t overlook the value that towels can play both during this type of weather and when the weather gets warmer. Towels can be used to provide additional warmth, provide cushioning or create a pillow, clean up messes that might occur, and even act as a tool if there is an emergency that causes injury such as bleeding or the need to stabilize a limb. Towels can also be wrapped around coolers to insulate and help the ice to last longer.
-Paper maps. Most people rely on a GPS system or their mobile device to help them to navigate when they are traveling. Even when going short distances, these devices provide assistance with directions and can help to identify challenges. There is always the possibility, however, that the system will not work, that the phone will die, or that the equipment will be out of range. Having paper maps of the area available will keep you grounded and help you to orient yourself if you get lost or need to change your route unexpectedly.
How can home care services help?
Being a family caregiver can be extremely challenging and even overwhelming. You may feel as though you are not capable of taking on some of the care tasks, or that your schedule is too busy to give your parent the level of care and support that they really deserve. Fortunately, you are not alone. Home care can be a fantastic way to help you ensure that your aging parent gets all of the care, support, and assistance that they need, while also making sure that you are able to focus enough time and energy on the other obligations and responsibilities in your life.
A home care provider can step in to fill care gaps, fulfill tasks that are potentially sensitive and may be uncomfortable for you or for your parents for you to fulfill, encourage greater independence in your parent through modification of tasks and safe and reliable transportation, and boost mental and emotional health through companionship and mental stimulation. This can give both of you greater peace of mind and confidence as they age in place.