A Carer’s Guide to Preparedness
Whether it’s for a daily task, a specific event or it’s part of a routine, many of us have developed ways to be prepared. During Joe’s Fix-It Friday Cuppa we explored the topic of Preparedness and were amazed at just how many different ways we prepare so we decided to look into it a little more. We reached out to our community to find out how they prepare too. Here is what we have come up with so far!
If you’re not sure where to start or you want to talk about the ways you would like to prepare why not have a conversation with one of our Carers coaches? You can book a free conversation at https://www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/individual-support.
Getting things organised:
Batch cooking, ready meals and meal plans
Whether you cook extra or add microwaveable meals to your shopping list, having easy meals in the freezer can help you to save time when things are busy or you don’t have the energy to cook.
(Image: A picture of Suzanne's freezer full of ready meals!)
Medication trays and charts
Having a system in place to manage medications helps some feel like there is “one less thing to think about”. Medication trays can also help you keep on top of when things are about to run out so that you can get them in advance. One member of our community sets time aside each week to count out every tablet for the next 7 days. They also note the number of tablets left to ensure that they are never without a full weeks worth.
Some people manage medication using dossete boxes. These plastic boxes can be bought (or supplied by a pharmacist) which detail when each medication should be taken. These can help people to manage their own medication and can really help if it’s hard not to forget tablets. You can find out more about them at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/practical-tips-if-you-care-for-someone/medicines-tips-for-carers/.
A Go Bag
Go bags are a great tool for when you need to be on the move quickly and need to have everything all in one place. Some people have Go bags for when they need to act in an emergency and prepare for an overnight stay like clothes, toiletries, money for parking for example. It’s essentially a ‘just in case’. However, they are also really useful for the day to day stuff, like shopping! A Shopping Go bag might include a mask, sanitiser, wipes, gloves and bags. They are really handy for ensuring you have everything you need when you need it.
Resting in advance
For some of us, we know that we need to be well-rested in order to tackle certain situations and we may not get the rest we need at the time. Resting before the event where possible can help as approach it in the best mindset possible.
Writing it down:
Lists are hugely popular in the Mobilise Community! Lists help us to organise our thoughts and break it down to smaller, more manageable chunks. To-do lists, in particular, can be great for boosting motivation as you tick each task off, as long as you include what is necessary and manageable. Everyone approaches lists differently; some people have one list, others have a daily and long term list, and a few have a book of lists!
A folder of information
Having important information written down somewhere is a valuable time-saving tool if you ever need to handover to someone else. Whilst it is time-consuming to start, having this prepared ensures that all the information is shared in one place and can save you a huge amount of time long term. This is a useful resource if a regular thing and can support your ‘What if plan’ in the case of an emergency.
To find out more about ‘What if plans’ check out this blog: https://www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/post/setting-up-a-simple-carers-emergency-plan.
Journals and a Tomorrow notebook
This lovely idea was suggested on social media as a way to record what has happened each day and to help look forward to what is coming up tomorrow. By thinking about tomorrow, you can begin to prepare for the day ahead.
Rotas, timetables and planners
Visual guides like excel sheets and colour coded planners are a great way to note down the details of upcoming plans or long term routines. One member of the community shared that they use an excel sheet to record their rota which they share with their siblings.
Getting into a routine:
Asking “What am I going to do tomorrow?”
Sometimes, we don’t need to write it down but just take a moment to think about “What am I going to do tomorrow?”. This can help to get into the right mindset and focus your attention on the next thing.
Going through the motions in advance
Going through the motions helps to prepare for an upcoming event by establishing a routine in advance. It means that you can have a few ‘test runs’ before the day of the event and overcome any unexpected challenges that might arise. It also helps to increase confidence and it has been achieved before the event itself.
Adding in rewards
We can sometimes forget that preparation is a task in itself. Adding rewards in like a coffee break, a sweet treat or moment for yourself can help with motivation and instil self-care into your own routine.
Remembering the important stuff:
Writing dates on a whiteboard
Writing all upcoming hospital appointments or day trips on a whiteboard is a useful way to have an overview of everything coming up all on one page. This helps everyone involved to remember the dates rather than just one person. It is also incredibly satisfying to simply wipe it off and it 'be gone', not just ticked off or scribbled out.
Reminders and alarms
Phones are great for setting alerts to help us keep to specific time schedules! Waking up, taking medications and meal planning are just a few ways that reminders can be beneficial.
There was also a great piece of advice -
Take everything one step at a time.
Why should we prepare?
Preparation is a great way for us to take control of the things we can manage and it provides a level of certainty even if the thing we are preparing for is not certain. This helpful resource talks about preparation as a valuable mechanism for controlling what can be controlled as a way to support our mental wellbeing - https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/looking-after-your-mental-health-we-come-out-lockdown.
It can also have great benefits for our mindset as certain tasks being done the night before can help us feel like there is one less thing to worry about. For example, packing school bags and preparing lunches the night before can save precious time before the morning school run. This extra time can make it a much less stressful experience as there is less need to rush to get everything done.
Physical preparation can also help us to start thinking about how we emotionally prepare for what’s ahead. Emotional preparation is so important as it impacts our mindset, our approach, our energy and our stress/anxiety levels. However, it’s worth noting that we don’t always need to prepare a positive mindset - sometimes it might require a mindset which you set which is best for this purpose.
Claire’s questions to help you prepare for the day
1. What emotional state will help me today?
2. What situations may be tricky/trip me up?
3. How will I be prepared/ best manage those moments?
4. How will I know today has been a success?
Whilst this is not strictly about how to prepare, it is important to recognise all that you have achieved with those preparatory tasks.
Taking a moment to reflect allows a moment for you to ask yourself “What have you done today?”. This simple question encourages you to acknowledge those day to day or weekly tasks you do without even thinking about. They can be time and energy-consuming so acknowledging them is important for your motivation and sense of job satisfaction.
So how do we prepare to prepare?
There are so many little things we can do to prepare ourselves for any preparation task.
Taking a 2 minute pause for yourself
Drinking water regularly
Being intentional about taking a break
Reframing your mindset so you think positively about the things you want to do or achieve that day.
Join Joe’s Fix-It Friday Cuppa at 12:30pm where we share our achievements of the week and our goals for the week ahead. Sign up today at www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/cuppa.