The organized caregiver knows that coordination is key to managing the many responsibilities that come with caregiving. Not only does organization help to reduce stress and improve efficiency, but it can also help to ensure that your loved one is receiving the best possible care. Here are some strategies and practical things to consider when getting organized as a caregiver:
Create a schedule
One of the most important things you can do to get organized is to create a schedule. This should include scheduling daily tasks such as medications, meals, and appointments, as well as longer-term tasks such as paying bills and scheduling doctor’s visits for yourself and your loved one. Don’t forget to schedule some time for self-care as well. (Listen to: “The Importance of Caregiver Self-Care) . A calendar, smartphone app or whiteboard are all great tools to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
Organize Important Documents
You never know when you may need to access important documents such as medical records, insurance information, and legal documents(Learn more about documents you need in episode 10 of Sage Aging – Estate Planning). Keeping these documents in a safe and easily accessible place is a must! There are many ways to keep track of important documents. This can be a simple folder or binder with tabs or a file box. Alternatively, you can use a digital app or computer to store documents. Whatever you choose, it should be something you feel comfortable managing. Learn more about creating medical and financial binders in episode 29 of the Sage Aging podcast.
Make a List of Important Contacts
it’s important to have a list of important contacts on hand in case of an emergency or to access information or resources that you need. Remember, it’s important to keep this information up to date and accessible in case you need to access it quickly. Here are some contacts that you may want to consider keeping on hand:
Primary care doctor
Legal contacts: Include legal representative or power of attorney
Consider Using Technology
There are so many tools and resources available to help caregivers stay organized, including smartphone apps and online calendars. Consider using these technologies to manage tasks and stay on top of appointments and other important events.
Ask for Help
Caregiving can be a challenging and overwhelming role, and it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Although it is sometimes hard to ask for help, consider seeking out support from friends, family, or a professional caregiver organization. Whether help comes in the form of respite or help with daily tasks, it can make all the difference to a busy caregiver.
By implementing these strategies and addressing practical needs, you can help to ensure that your loved one receives the best possible care and that you are able to manage your responsibilities as a caregiver with greater ease and efficiency.
Liz Craven, co-publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide with her husband Wes, combines personal experience and heartfelt dedication in her work. Their journey in eldercare began with a personal story—caring for Wes' grandmother, Mabel, who lived with Alzheimer's. This chapter in their lives not only highlighted the complexities of eldercare but also kindled a deep-seated passion to support others facing similar challenges. Since then, Liz and Wes have navigated caregiving three more times. These experiences have added layers of depth to their insights, allowing them to offer a blend of empathetic understanding and practical advice through the Sage Aging ElderCare Guide. Liz’s commitment to making eldercare more approachable and less daunting shines through in every piece of advice she offers, aiming to ease the caregiving journey for others.