Don’t Panic

crazy-woman-driverIt was 8:15am when the call came.  My Aunt’s caregiver was calling to tell me my Aunt had fallen and 911 was called.  I quickly got dressed and headed to the hospital.  Pulling out of the driveway while searching my purse for my phone, I realized I hadn’t even looked back to make sure there was no-one crossing the sidewalk.  In that moment I pulled the car over, put it in park and did self-check.

My thoughts and my heart were racing as I was caught up in the chaos of the moment.  The next thing I did took only a few seconds but made a huge difference… I took a deep breath held it for a second and let it out.  That brief moment not only helped to clear my head but also calmed me down physically.

As caregivers we can end up living into our reactions as critical situations arise.  Because of this we can end up not only making knee-jerk decisions but put ourselves (and others) in danger especially when driving in a panicked state.

Here are some helpful tips to help focus in the midst of chaos:

Breathe –Taking a moment to take a deep breath in and out can clear your head, lower your blood pressure and help you to focus on what needs to be done.

Ask Questions – Questions help to clarify what is really going on and can assist you in taking the next steps.

Make a Plan – Create a list of potential next steps in regards to the situation.

Call for Help – Part of the plan needs to be asking for help. Example: On my way to the ER I called my Mom to inform her of the situation.  She shared that she was running a fever and was going to the doctor.  After asking questions I thought it a good idea if someone went with her to the doctor, as I was headed to the hospital I called my husband to coordinate him taking her and, depending on how long things took at the ER, I would meet them there.

Take Action – Though our first reaction is to take action, taking time to follow these steps can help determine a logical course of action.

Communicate – Keep those you’ve ask for help updated about the current situation and any changes in the plan.  (The nice thing is that with modern technology you can send a group text to update others.)

Being able to go through these steps takes practice during non-emergent situations.  If you start practicing these steps daily in other areas of your life they will become a pattern of behavior that, when the emergency arises will be easier to work through.

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About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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