Tuesday at 07:00 I was rushed to the ER with a heart attack. My ADW's caregiver didn't come until 10 AM and caregiving ended at 11PM. From a packet of instructions on the fridge the EMS called and found a neighbor to come until the carer arrived.

We are alone, no relatives.
Who steps in to be your case manager and run things if you are gone for days?

What things do you tell the EMT's to do?

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Dave, I hope you're recovering successfully and feeling better. And you're wise to address the pre-planning emergency issues, not only from the aspect of what emergency care would be available but from the aspect that each of us would be wise to address our own situations and create backup plans.

I can only offer one thought at this time, and that's the access issue. We got a lock box, the kind that is attached outside directly to a stud on either side of the front door. Do NOT get the kind that has a u-shaped handle which fits over the door. It can be sawed off.

A door key is in there; when I've had to call EMS I gave them the combination to open the lock box to get the key. The combination can be changed at any time.

When there have been other minor emergencies, or I couldn't get to the house in time, I've given the combination to trusted friends so they could get in to help.

A second suggestion might be to consider MOW; that would provide your wife with meals if you're in the hospital or unavailable. If she can microwave, prepare one dish meals, freeze them in microwavable containers, so she can at least cook some meals. Or stock up on frozen meals. If cooking is challenging, perhaps make up sandwiches, several at a time, enough to last for a few days in the event you're unavailable.

As you've already done, alert the neighbors (assuming they're good neighbors), and arrange for them to pick up mail, and provide checkups until the caregivers come. Ask the agency that provides the caregivers what would be required to hire another caregiver in the event of an emergency.

This is a very real and valid concern, and frankly, it's refreshing to read such a post from someone who's thinking ahead and not just complaining about absent or unhelpful siblings or the fact that he/she wants the federal government (or someone) to pay him or her for taking care of a parent.
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When my sister got a medical alert pendant, I made sure there was a key hidden outside near the front door and the alert company knew where to direct the EMS to find it. Otherwise the entrance would have to be smashed open.
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Dave, good heavens, how are you doing now? That must have been a scary ordeal for you not only worrying about your own health but that of your wife and her care. Glad to read you had planned ahead and had that packet of instructions for the EMS.

I think it all depends on the person who is being cared for, what are their immediate needs. With a person who has advanced Alzheimer's/Dementia the need for immediate help is needed quickly, compared to other loved ones who can sit in their recliners and/or move about safely with a walker until a caregiver arrives.

Never had a Plan B for my parents [90's] who lived on their own, and I probably should have for those "what ifs" moments. The issue I had was my Mom refused any type of outside help. I was hoping my parents would downsize and move into something more elder friendly.

Even a medial emergency on myself didn't sway my parents to move or accept outside help, and here I was out of commission to help them for 6 months because I could drive after breaking my shoulder and having my arm freeze into a sling position.

My Mom had since passed and Dad is happily living in Independent/Assisted Living... now I can breath easier !!
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You make a very valid point, Dave. I hope you're doing better now.

When my dad was living with me I had no plans in place if I needed to be hospitalized. I don't think it even occurred to me to have some safeguards in place if I couldn't be there. I was always the master planner and I look back now after reading your post and can't believe it never occurred to me to make sure my dad would be alright if I were hospitalized.

I hope other people see this post and get to work on putting together a Plan B. Great point, Dave!
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