I have been a family caregiver for five years now. It first started back in 2011 when my mom began to get sick, but it became a day-to-day role early in 2013.
It was then that I found myself rushing to the hospital with my mom in sheer panic. There were many unexpected overnight stays, and some of those turned into weeks.
You never know what to expect. Will we be admitted? Can we get in and out tonight? However, after many trips, dead batteries, the loud growling stomach, and lots of waiting around, I created my own survival kit.
I created this kit and kept it in the car at all times so I could at least feel like I was in control of SOMETHING.
You will feel so much better when you can brush your teeth with a toothbrush you picked out, your own flavor of toothpaste along with mouthwash. The comfort that it is something you picked out and not what the nurses handed you is invigorating.
You may not have time to shower but at least you can freshen up. I like to bring one with some sent so it gives me a little extra fresh feeling.
Personally I like Burt’s Bee’s and the Say YES brand. It is up to you. There are plenty to choose from and can also help wake up a sleep face.
Mini brush and mirror
A great way to make you feel a little more presentable as doctors and nurses come in and out of the room.
I can’t tell you how many times my phone went dead and I was unable to get ahold of clients. I purchased an extra one just for this kit so I can always be contacted and make contact.
Keep an extra book or magazine in your car. This way you have something to thumb through during those long hours of waiting. A Kindle or iPad and charger is always a good grab if you can remember. Having something of that nature will give you plenty of options if you begin to get bored or can’t sleep and can also be entertaining and calming for the loved on you are caring for.
Blanket and small pillow
I keep a light blanket and small pillow in my car at all times.
I found protein bars and nuts to be the easiest, healthiest, and most filling snacks to have on hand in these types of situations.
I actually never thought of this until I was writing this blog. But there were many times I sat in the hospital wondering if I would be able to make a quick trip home. A clean set of lightweight clothes would be easy to transport.
I placed all of these items in a small bag, and it made hospital runs slightly less terrible.
If you have any tips or suggestions, feel free to comment below. It’s always nice to hear from fellow caregivers.
This guest post was written by myALZteam member Tiffany Gustafson. Tiffany is a caregiver for the second time in her life. She cared for her mother with breast cancer before she became the primary caregiver to her father who has Alzheimer’s. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and runs her own business, Motivated Fitness. She writes to encourage fellow adults caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s.
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