When you are the caregiver for a loved one, it’s hard to keep up with all the details. Your life is hard enough! Keeping track of someone else’s day-to-day minutia can be a daunting task. No matter how organized you are, something may someday slip through the cracks. Here are a few suggestions to minimize those moments and handle them with grace when they do happen.
1. Keep a detailed calendar. Whether you prefer an old-fashioned pencil and paper calendar, such as a Day-Timer, or an online model, such as Google Calendar, it’s key to pick one and be diligent in writing down appointments and due dates. The next step, of course, is that you have to actually look at the calendar daily!
2. Keep a command center. Have a central location for all information concerning your Epic Elder. Again, that can be a physical, paper-and-pencil place, such as a binder, accordion file folder, file box, etc., or an online location. I prefer Trello.com, which is a free site where I organize everything and share the information with family members. I also keep a physical binder, where I keep all contracts, important ID cards (Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare, etc.), guardianship papers, and list of medications. I take this binder with me whenever I take my sister to meet with new care partners, such as doctors or case managers.
3. Keep your contacts list up to date. Doctors, therapists, caregivers, neighbors who are willing to help, church contacts, and more add up when you are caring for someone who is aging and requiring more attention. It’s imperative that you keep track of all the names and numbers, with notes about their role with your loved one. Even if you just throw business cards into a Ziploc bag for sorting later, be sure and ask for them. Write details on the back of the cards so that you remember the conversation. Of course, you can always add the contacts to your phone and take notes on Google Keep or another app. The point is to keep track of all the players in your Epic Elder’s care.
4. Make a schedule to deal with repeating and routine tasks. If you have monthly tasks you do for your loved one, schedule reminders on your calendar. For instance, I know that the 1st day of the month is the day I transfer money from my sister’s savings account into her checking account so that it will be there when her special needs trust withdraws the money to pay her rent.
5. Stay in close contact with all the people in your Epic Elder’s life. Good relationships go a long way toward paving the way for a smooth ride ahead. If you do miss a payment, an appointment, a phone call, etc., talk to your contacts and explain your case. Apologies count more with people who know you and know how hard you are trying to keep the balls in the air. Good relationships also help you get special attention if you need to change an appointment, ask for a copy of this paper or that, or get a recommendation for a new whatever. As Mama said (probably your mother said this too), “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” Keep those relationships on the honey side!
6. Meditate, relax, pray, exercise. Take care of yourself and your soul. Caregiving is really hard, physically and emotionally. It drains your time and your resources. Take care to recharge your batteries, because you and your Epic Elder are depending on you!
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Caregiver Services in Orlando FL, please contact the caring staff at Flourish in Place Home Care Solutions today. Proudly serving Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Brevard Counties. Call 407-845-9797.