How to manage sick days when YOU are a caregiver


December 4, 2021

How to manage sick days when YOU are the caregiverIf you are a caregiver, it is critical you have a plan in place if you become ill, have an accident, or are unable to care for your loved one…and yourself! 

Planning ahead for sick days means…

  • Have someone (family member, friend, or paid personal care assistant) you can ask to check on you and help as needed.
  • Have common at home monitors and know how to use them:
    • Thermometer
      • to detect fever
    • Blood Pressure Monitor
      • get instructions from your doctor on how to use and what a healthy range is for you
    • Blood Oxygen Meter
      • helpful if you suspect a respiratory infection such as Covid-19
    • Blood Glucose Meter
      • helpful if you have diabetes or blood sugar issues
      • get instructions from your doctor on how to use and what a healthy range is for you
  • Have you emergency medical information ready and posted in an obvious place in your home
  • Get instructions from your doctor on when you should call for help.

What to do when you are sick:

  • Tell a family member or friend how you are feeling
  • Check your temperature, blood glucose/oxygen/pressure as needed
  • Drink one cup of fluid every hour to prevent dehydration
  • Keep taking your medication (If you are vomiting or have diarrhea, ask your doctor)

Get medical help if:

  • You have persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • You are unable to take in liquids or solids or to keep them down.
  • You have diarrhea or are vomiting for more than 6 hours
  • You have a fever of 101 degrees or more
  • You have stomach pains that do not go away
  • You have trouble breathing
    • You have pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
  • Your blood sugar is 240 or higher before meals and stays there for more than 24 hours
  • You have new confusion
  • You are unable to wake or stay awake
  • Review this list with your medical professional and ask if they have other conditions you need to monitor. 

When you call for help, be prepared to tell them your temperature, symptoms, medications, and what you have done to treat your symptoms and if it helped. 

Reference: North Central Texas - Area Agency on Aging Workshop & Bull Publishing Company and the Self-Management Resource Center

We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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