Do you worry about what might happen if you fall (again) or have a vertigo attack in public? Or who might look after your house if you have to be hospitalized? Or . . . the list goes on and on. Worrying about unpredictable future events can significantly increase anxiety levels and increase symptoms of dizziness and imbalance. The key is making short- and long-term plans to take care of your health, responsibilities, and property. These ideas are simply suggestions. Get creative using similar concepts.
- Do not let medications run low.
- If prone to nausea, carry a disposable "barf bag".
- Have a container handy beside the bed in case of nausea.
- Keep a good stock of healthy food for the times you cannot get out.
- Have medications and bottled water available at your bedside.
- Keep your phone handy – and charged!
- Set up quick-dial numbers on your phone, including 911.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet or carry a medical alert card in your wallet to inform medical personnel of your condition.
- Use a medical alert system – products available include pendants, wristbands, watches, and cell phones equipped with emergency buttons or apps. Some include GPS tracking and fall detection. Voice activated devices can also be helpful.
- Carry a whistle – no one can yell for help for a long time.
- Leave a spare key with a family member, neighbour, or nearby friend; alternatively, consider having a lockbox installed.
- Ask a family member, neighbour, or friend to check in with you twice a day (by phone, email, or text). An elderly or disabled friend might appreciate this arrangement as it benefits both of you. Exchange emergency contact information.
- Carry emergency contact information in your wallet so family can be alerted if you fall or have a vertigo attack while away from home.
- List allergies and current medication along with your emergency contact information. Make entries on your calendar at least twice a year to remind you to keep this information up to date.
- If you use an in-case-of-emergency (ICE) app on your cell phone, make sure the ICE number shows on the screen even when your phone is locked. It is best to carry contact information in your wallet even if you use an ICE app.
- Make arrangements for pet care. Keep detailed instructions posted on the fridge.
- Post emergency response information on your fridge – this is where paramedics are trained to look. Consider using Manitoba’s Emergency Response Information Kit (ERIK) form [PDF] as a model for information to include.
- Make sure family, friends, and co-workers know about your condition and concerns.
- Create an advance care plan to ensure your medical treatment wishes are known and followed.
- Make sure your family knows your wishes.
- Create or update your will, representation agreement, and power of attorney. A representation agreement is a document used either for supported or substituted decision-making regarding health and personal care matters.
These kinds of discussions can be upsetting to some people – nobody wants to admit their vulnerability and the possibility of having a serious health incident. However having firm and sensible plans in place can bring great peace of mind.
The following can offer more help and support for affected individuals and their families.
Advance Care Planning
An initiative of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association to provide information for Canadians in all provinces and territories about advance care planning.
Page updated August, 2019.