5 Tips to Help Organize Your Caregiving Life
Carol Bradley Bursack, Minding Our Elders | Aug 28th 2014 Feb 22nd 2017
Caregiving is stressful because the wellbeing of vulnerable people we love is at risk. We know that we must stay organized in case of emergencies. We must cope with mountains of paperwork, the need to manage medications and the scheduling of medical visits. Getting organized concerning the nuts and bolts of caregiving can free us to spend more quality time with our loved one. Try these tips to see if they work for you.
Medication ordering and organization are crucial. Smart phone apps can alert you to the need to order prescription refills and high tech pill containers can let you know if your loved one has taken medication at the proper times. Ordinary daily pill organizers can work too. Find what fits your needs and that of your loved one, but do find a routine that works without undue frustration on anyone’s part.
Some people like one calendar for everything so that they know just what each day holds. Others prefer a separate calendar for a loved one who has special needs. Some like electronic calendars, others prefer paper. Experiment to see what works for you. Many of us use both so we can keep different areas of life separate.
No matter how high tech you get, keep a paper information folder in an obvious place so that if a 9-1-1 call is necessary, information about your loved one’s health, medicines, doctors, a medical Power Of Attorney and other necessary information is on hand. High tech is great, but an EMT may find it easier to have documents ready in hard copy, as well.
More emergency prep
Natural disasters happen. Medical emergencies happen. Have medications ready to go, along with changes of clothing, a plan as to what to do in a power outage if there is any vital equipment needed that depends on electricity, bottled water for pills and anything else to cover your loved one’s special needs. Having a plan and preparing to carry out that plan can lower daily stress levels.
Keep two journals
One journal is for keeping track of changes in your loved one’s health, results of past doctor visits and medication changes. The other one, which could be the most important journal for your emotional health and stress reduction, is your place to write out how you feel. Every caregiver has negative thoughts. Write them down. Get them out. Try also to write down one thing daily that you can be grateful for.
Don’t get so caught up in getting organized that you create more stress for yourself. Do the basics and then give some thought, perhaps while journaling, to what other steps could work for you.