Ah, those days come back crystal clear when I was a family caregiver. Because you see, in the flurry of my day I knew I’d remember where I put the notes I made from Mom’s last doctor visit. I mean really, they were so important how could I possibly forget that I put them in the yellow section of the third folder in the second drawer? How hard could that be to find them?
I was a Professional Organizer at one point in my career, and I know the impact of keeping yourself organized, needless to say how imperative it is as a family caregiver. And yet there I was getting disorganized. Clutter is one of your worst enemies, and I cannot possibly stress this enough; clutter creates chaos. Chaos on top of an already hectic life is flat out crazy making, remember you are caring for yourself and your loved one, too.
Ok, ok, you get that. But what are some simple tips or tricks can I share with you to help you stay on track?
Keep it simple. Do not overthink when it comes to organizing systems, whether it’s on your computer or in a file drawer (please just don’t let it be the floor).
Make up a master file that says MEDICAL on it and within that have separate folders that say Medications / Allergies /Dr. Visits.
Make up another master file that says INSURANCE on it and within that keep copies of insurance cards, long term health insurance, car insurance.
Make up a binder for your loved one with:
- Medical Visits - reason for the visit and the Dr’s findings
- Pharmacy Name/phone number with a current list of medications
- Copies of medical insurance cards
- Power of Attorney for Health Care
- Financial Documentation - Trust/Homeowners information
- Receipts (Dr. visits, co-pays, medications, hospital stays, rehab stays)
- Contact list; Doctor’s, Lawyer, plumber, electrician etc.
My journal for family caregivers is available here on the Breathing Spaces Website that you might find helpful as well. I had carried around a simple white notebook when I was caring for my Mom and realized how invaluable it became. I’ve added in inspiration while allowing you to keep track of things and have the ability to journal your thoughts all in one place.
I also know that having your home organized especially when your hands are full caring for your loved one is paramount. I found some great, simple, inventive tips in this article from Good Housekeeping; 102 Best Tips to Get Your Home Organized.
Your journey is hectic enough. Whether you follow some of these or find your method, please do yourself the favor of getting organized to reduce the chaos.