Review: CallToU Caregiver Call System

Imagine you’re in your oasis of calm – your backyard garden. It’s a clear day and you’re on a hunt for errant weeds and malicious pests. Your elderly mother is upstairs confined to her bed with a cast from ankle to upper thigh. Normally independent, her current state has her agitated and restless. The last time you checked she was sleeping soundly. You set to weeding your vegetable patch.

Hours later, you check on your mother. She’s awake and soaking wet. She’d tried to pour herself a cup of water from the pitcher by her bed. Obviously something went wrong. She had been calling out but you hadn’t heard her all the way in the yard.

Counting on 43 Million Strong Caregivers

The title is not an error. There were 43.5 million caregivers helping friends and relatives in 2015. That number has only increased since. The economic value of family caregivers is huge – $470 billion. Yes, that is BILLIONS. Despite this economic might, family caregivers are nearly invisible.
That teenager with a mop of hair and a full grocery cart is shopping for her entire family because her mother is disabled. That tall gentleman loading some wood planks into a pickup truck is actually fixing his parents’ deck after a bad storm. That stylishly dressed young woman picking up prescriptions is on an errand for her grandparents. Would you know they were caregivers?
cars taxis on zebra crossing

Family Caregiving in the Car

One of the things I dreaded was traveling. Even the short distance to the grocery store was fraught with possible catastrophe when accompanied by someone with dementia. I had to be aware of what my mother was doing and feeling at all times so I could anticipate her needs and forestall tantrums and tears.

New family caregivers need to understand that their charges may be uncomfortable because they’re not in a familiar place or situation. They may not be able to express this insecurity but it can lead to acting out or being glum. Over time, I learned what things to bring or to do to make a drive, long or short, more manageable for me and less stressful for my mother.

Index Cards: The Family Caregiver’s Best Helper

A set of index cards can be a first time family caregiver’s best friend. Yes, a simple stack of four or five index cards. This short stack has saved me time, lost brain cells and prevented anxiety attacks.

Here’s what you will need: Five or six index cards. A pen. Yes, a simple, ubiquitous index 3×5 index card. It was good enough for World War II code breakers, it’s good enough for me.

bletchley park info cards