On the West Coast of British Columbia we recently experienced a large earthquake (7.2 on the Richter scale). I did not feel it but I experienced the flash of fear. Are we prepared? Do we have enough bottled water/canned foods? Do I know how to shut off our gas…where are those pliers? Do the kids remember our plan? Have I communicated it to our out of town family? The news has been replete with reminders that we live on a fault line– it is not a matter of will it happen, it is a matter of when.
Same thing for being a caregiver — look at the statistics. According to the Canadian Caregiving Coalition there are approximately 4 million caregivers in Canada. With unprecedented population aging combined with reductions in health care services the likelihood of one becoming a caregiver is on the rise. For many of us, it is really not a matter of if we will be a caregiver, but rather when and to what extent. Will it be the ‘big one’ or will you have some smaller warning quakes first?
Recently I have had a few small warning rumbles. I think we should think of becoming a caregiver much like earthquake preparedness. Hopefully we won’t ever need the plan but if we do need it, then we have it.
So it begs the question – what do you need in your “Caregiver Preparedness Kit”? A starting place is to begin to think about who is in your network. What gifts, abilities and/or skills can they bring to bear? Who needs to be informed if and when the big one (or the small one) comes? What other types of tools might you need in your kit – an advanced directive? A power of attorney? Is it important to know relevant health information like blood type? Of course the information is essential but so too is the organization of this information so those who need it can access it – when they need it. How about setting up a Tyze network as part of your “Caregiver Preparedness Kit”? Don’t wait for the 7.2….
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