I thought I’d give writing a rest today, but then I saw an article online about a carer who had died, leaving his father stuck in his chair. One of my greatest fears is that when I go to work, Ma will get into difficulties and be unable to seek assistance. Sure, I have a Care Alert around her neck when I’m away as well as a security system AND I ring her every hour or so, but there is always the chance that something will happen and I won’t be there to render assistance.
I’m going to climb up on my soap box here so skip if you’ve heard it all before: It’s a sad fact of the world today that people are sometimes too busy to check on their loved ones. Days, then weeks rush by and the intention that you had on ringing or visiting somebody becomes a distant memory until one day you realise it’s too late. Materialism has taken over our lives, we work longer to earn the money to pay for the things we give in compensation for the fact that we aren’t there. You won’t ever be able to get back the time you could have spent with your loved one when they’re gone. Ok, I’m climbing down off my box now…
I invested in a Care Alert for Ma a few years ago. I hang it around her neck every time I go out. It has a recorded message stating Ma’s address and her need for assistance. It rings 5 different numbers and plays the recorded message until somebody responds. The last number is for 000, the ambulance service. She has only activated it once. She was by herself and slid onto the floor off her bed. I was also able to ring a neighbour to come and check on her. Neighbours can be an absolute blessing.
I keep a copy of all of Ma’s substantial medications, medical history, doctor’s details and pension and medicare cards on the back of the front door. I keep copies of this information in a few places: her handbag, doctor’s file, medications crate (yep, she has a crate as she has so many), along with some extra copies to take along to specialist appointments.
I make a point of sitting with her when I come home from work and talking to her about what’s happened during the day. She spends most of the day sitting on her bed reading books, magazines and listening to the radio. I worry about her lack of social interaction and know that her mental state deteriorates when she is by herself so often. I’m lucky to be able to work from home which helps keep her mentally stimulated. I can always tell when she has had a phone call from a family member or ‘opinion poll’, her voice becomes animated.
- Invest in some type of alert device for your loved one, it provides you with peace of mind. Sure, if they are unconscious it doesn’t work but, if they are, it gets them the help they need.
- Keep a copy of all your loved ones medications, medical history, doctors details along with a copy of their concession card and Medicare card taped to the back of the front door. If you aren’t there this information will be invaluable. Keep extra copies, you won’t believe how much you use this information!
- Look at getting a Key Safe Lock to place a set of keys to the house. Put this in a secure location, this is so the Ambulance guys don’t have to break down the door. Just give them the code and location of the Lock. Oh, and make sure you have this recorded somewhere, like your phone.
- Ring to check on them, or get somebody else to ring and check on them if you can’t. Remember how isolated they are, you might be the only person they see or hear from all week.
- Get to know your neighbours. I have rung mine on a number of occasions to check on Ma when I haven’t been able to raise her on the phone. I’m truly blessed with mine.
- Don’t let caring take over. Sit down and have a conversation with them. I sometimes find I’m so caught up in caring duties I forget to treat Ma like a person. Sometimes this works the other way and I feel more like a servant than a daughter.