Dispelling A Caregiver's Fear of Being Unprepared

Last updated: May 2018

I live close to Charlotte, NC, and while the riots were occurring, I thought about what it would have been like if mom had been with me during that time. While I don't have the answers for this, I can voice a common fear among caregivers. This fear is not unique to riots or something like that. It is also the fear of natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes or large scale fires. The fear is not being prepared to care for your loved one.

You know the unanswerable questions:

What if we cannot take enough oxygen with us, if we need to leave quickly? Will we have enough medications to sustain him/her if we need to be gone for an extended time? What is the best way move quickly?

If you are a caregiver of someone deep into the stages of COPD, I imagine that you have thought of these questions at least once. You hope that your loved one never worries about these things because, really, these are the things that statistically have an extremely low chance of happening, but as a caregiver, I did think about these things. I wondered about the ability of our supply company to deliver during ice or some other horrible weather event.

Looking back, most of my worry came from what I would consider lack of preparation.

If we had purchased a generator that could run her concentrator, I would not have worried about the power being out. If we had been able to collect at least a month of extra medications, we would not have worried about her being out of essential meds.

Much of my worry was also from a lack of communicating with the people that could help during those times. A simple call to her supply company could have dispelled so many of my fears, but I never thought to call them when I had time.

It is always important to keep your oxygen supplies from becoming completely depleted.

Each supply company may have a different policy about the amount of oxygen that needs to be in a liquid reservoir before it can be replaced, but staying on top of that will ensure that you will have enough at a moment's notice.

I also wish that we had written out a plan that would answer some of the "what-ifs". Since I was a co-caregiver with my father, I was unsure what his plan would be, and he probably wondered what mine would be also. Having a written plan of action would have been very helpful. For example: 1.) If the power is out and we are able to make it to the other person's house, we will do so. 2.) If there is a natural disaster, we will meet at a predetermined location.

These seem simple, and they are.

However, if this is not communicated, there can be anxiety over the simplest solutions.

It is just like when you were a child and you had a family plan in the event of a fire in your home. The likelihood that you had to use it is low, but the plan itself created confidence that everything would be okay because everyone knew what to do. The bottom line is that many of your worries as a caregiver can be relieved with simple communication and planning.

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