A Caregiver's Guide to Staying Organized

By June 29, 2015Aging in Place

Being a caregiver can be stressful and one of the ways that you can minimize stress is by staying organized. You have lots of information to keep track of, so it’s important to stay on top of everything! Here are some key areas that caregivers should focus on:

Health Information

Most seniors are seeing multiple doctors and taking multiple medications. Add in information about health insurance and medical care plans and you can easily have a big mess.
All of your senior’s medical information should be kept in one place. This should include:

  • Physician names and numbers
  • Medical diagnoses
  • Medication list and instructions
  • Pharmacy and other health provider names and numbers
  • Insurance information
  • Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney

Many people are converting to “digital” records, but for ease of communication, it may be best to have paper copies easily available.

Medications

In addition to the list that you keep with the other health information, you should keep a list of medications and other treatments in an easily accessible place. Your senior may have difficulty sorting out all of the medications that he must take at various times of the day.

Some seniors benefit from a multi-compartment pill box in which a week’s worth of medication can be counted out by day of the week and time of day. Other seniors need more assistance and should have pills set out on a daily basis. No matter what method is chosen, it is vital that the medication list with instructions be located with the medication box and that labeled prescription bottles are kept in a secure but accessible location in case of emergency.

Finances

Finances for a senior are often a touchy subject. A family may not want a non-family caregiver to have access to finances and some family members may wish to limit access to everyone. Whatever arrangement the senior can come to, financial and legal records should be kept together in a secure area in the same way that health information is. Information about the senior may include:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Mortgage or real estate documentation
  • Bills and account records
  • Bank statements
  • Passwords for any online accounts
  • Financial investment information
  • Financial Power of Attorney
  • Will
  • Additional copies of Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will

Again, many people are opting for digital records, but paper copies should be maintained as well.
If you can ensure that the “big” items are taken care of and organized, it may help you manage the day-to-day activities so that when an emergency or other need arises, you won’t have to scramble or rely on your senior loved one to find the information.

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