As a family caregiver to an older adult, it’s important that you be prepared for an emergency—even a minor one. If your elderly parent does not currently have a first aid kit in their home, it’s a good idea to prepare one and have it on hand. Having a first aid kit will allow you to quickly deal with minor cuts, burns, and other problems. Caregivers can purchase an already assembled kit, but it’s easy to put your own together, which also allows you to customize what is in it.
Items to Put in the Kit
When creating a first aid kit for your elderly parent, it’s important to place a couple of personalized items in it. Make sure you put an extra supply of their medications in the kit. This is especially important if you plan to take the kit with you on outings. Having medicines along can prevent a missed dose if the day goes on longer than planned. Also, keep a list of emergency phone numbers in the kit. This can allow you to quickly contact the help you need without fumbling for a phone book or looking them up online.
In addition to personalized items, the American Red Cross recommends that first aid kits contain the following items:
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches).
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes).
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch).
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram).
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets.
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each).
- 1 emergency blanket.
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve).
- 1 instant cold compress.
- 2 pair of non-latex gloves (large).
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each.
- 1.3 in. gauze roll (roller) bandage.
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide).
- 5 3 in. x 3 in. sterile gauze pads.
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches).
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass).
- 2 triangular bandages.
- Emergency first aid guide.
Where to Keep the Kit
Place the first aid kit in a central location within the house where it is easy to find. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep it in plain sight rather than stashing it in a closet or cupboard. That way, any caregiver in the home can find it when needed. You may also wish to create another kit to keep in the car to eliminate the chances of forgetting it when you go out.
One last note, some items in a first aid kit have expiration dates. Be sure to occasionally look through the kit and replace items that have expired.