Happy new year! Did you make any resolutions? The new year means a fresh start, so a common resolution is to get organized, whether at home, at work, or at school. Today on the blog we’ll discuss the steps caregivers can take to be better organized in the new year and have their loved one’s information in one place.
- Start by gathering all your loved one’s paperwork. This step may be messy, so try to do it without judgement; sometimes things get messier before they’re organized.
- Figure out an organizational system that works for you, this could be a binder or a digital system like Evernote. Whatever you use, make sure you have accurate labels (e.g., Insurance information, doctors and contact information, medications, hospital bills, important phone numbers, etc.).
- Other categories include legal (power of attorney, estate planning, etc.), social (names and numbers of friends and social programs your loved one attends, such as a congregate meal program), pension/insurance, mortgage, and a space to list your loved one’s routine.
- AARP has a great checklist for creating a caregiving binder, which can be found here.
- Create a notebook or online method to make note of observations. This gives you a place to track changes you notice in your loved one, such as eating habits, sleeping habits, or mood.
- Use a wall calendar or calendar app to list your loved one’s appointments.
- Evaluate your current medication management plan- what’s working? What could be improved?
- Make a back-up plan: who will take care of your loved one if you’re sick or there’s an emergency? It could be as simple as creating an emergency medical file.
- Is your loved one living with a disease? Research the disease (e.g., disease stages, treatments, signs to look out for, etc.) and add your findings to your caregiving documents.
- Ready to go digital? AARP has a guide to different caregiving apps, which can be found here.
Building Your Team
- The new year is a great time to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t with your caregiving plan. If you have siblings/family, talk to them about ways they can support your caregiving journey.
- Remember, you don’t have to do this alone! Make it a goal to research local support groups and go to one virtual meeting.