caregivers already exhausted from the demands of their
duties, devising an organizational system can be a
do you coordinate the vast amount of information in that
caregiving role?" said Sandy Markwood, chief
executive of the National Association of Area Agencies
on Aging. "How do you keep track of all of the
physicians? How do you keep track of all of the
medications? How do you keep track of all things like
advance directives? How do you keep track all of the
difference insurance policies?
are so many buckets of information a caregiver needs to
have access to. In some cases, depending on the
condition of their loved one."
it all together in an organized fashion will alleviate
some of the stress by making it easier to find important
documents and other information.
are several key areas that caregivers need to focus on
when it comes to organizing their loved one’s matters,
my case and so many others, there seem to be three
buckets of organizational information that caregivers
need to organize — health, financial and legal — and
then two buckets of organizational supports that are
needed — support for your loved one and then support
for you as a caregiver," she said.
a list of your loved one’s doctors, medications,
medical history, Medicare, other health insurance cards
and a list of emergency contacts.
your loved one has long-term care insurance, get a paper
copy of the policy.
a file with information and instructions so that someone
else can step in and take over if you, the caregiver,
become sick or unable to manage things," said Lue
Taff, geriatric care manager at the Senior Source in
medications, make sure you list the doses, who
prescribed them, the times for the medication and the
Toth of Rockwall is caregiver for her husband, Larry,
who has Parkinson’s disease. She keeps a list of all
her husband’s medications and maintains a calendar of
all doctors’ and physical therapy appointments and
dates when medications can be refilled.
73, also has designated pill containers, one for each
day, because her husband takes medicine every three
hours from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
patients freeze up and can’t walk or lose their
balance if they don’t have their medication," she
said it’s critical that caregivers create an
organizational system that works for them.
taking care of someone, and everything ends up on
you," she said. "I keep a loose-leaf folder
with the plastic pages, and I slide everything into
that. I do keep track of the doctors’ names and
numbers so that if anyone needed to take over in my
absence, they would have that."
also made sure her three children know where the book is
and what it contains.
addition to her folder, Toth also uses a bulletin board
to post the business cards of doctors and pharmacies.
all needs to be in one spot," she said.
financial information you need to collect should include
your loved one’s:
for online accounts
information for financial advisers
also should have copies of your loved one’s:
power of attorney
power of attorney
your loved one’s unmet needs and how their care can be
improved will allow you to develop a thorough caregiving
complete the caregiving plan, list everyone —
including yourself — who is providing support, their
broad or specific responsibilities, specific tasks and
timelines for accomplishment," said Amy Goyer,
family issues expert at AARP and caregiver for her
parents. "Share a copy with everyone on the team so
all can understand their unique roles and how everyone
is working together.
also be able to see how balanced the plan is in terms of
how your loved one’s needs are met and each person’s
sisters are part of her parents’ caregiving team.
have my sisters on that list so that when I add a task
to that list, they get an email and it says, ‘There’s
a new list on Mom and Dad,’ and they can look at that
and see if there’s something that they can help
with," Goyer said.
best organizational system is the one that works for
you. What’s important is that you start now, before a
of us have experienced the frantic search for a critical
legal, health or financial document, often under heavy
pressure due to a crisis or time crunch," Goyer
said. "Start now to gather the information and
documents and organize them for easy access."
they’re organized, you’ll be able to find what you
need easily, whether it’s in the midst of a crisis or
can’t control a lot of what happens to your loved ones
in the course of caregiving," Goyer said. "But
this is one place where you can be proactive, and that’s
worth the effort."