Getting Organized to Care for an Elderly Parent
Once you have a better sense of your elderly parent's needs, you can start working on a plan of care at home. You're about to be inundated with more than you ever wanted to know about the pitfalls of age and infirmity, and it will help if you can organize the relevant information. Some of it is just a matter of gathering information and putting it in a safe place. Here are some forms to get you started. You can download these and print them out:
You may want to make copies for others who might be involved in care, especially those at a distance who may be listed as emergency contacts.
Organizing a Jobs Checklist for Family Caregivers
Once you've gathered some basic information, you'll want to brainstorm with all concerned about the bases that need to be covered for the best care at home. The work to be done – and who can do it – will vary tremendously from situation to situation. But there are some common basics. Whatever the situation, your loved one needs food and shelter, a functioning home, access to medical care, bills paid, etc. The Jobs Checklist is a helpful starting place for identifying tasks and assigning point people to address them. Concerned family and friends will probably be offering to help – and they're a valuable resource. You'll want to take them up on their offers, and also to keep them in the loop about what is happening and what is needed. Organizing the home care ahead of time with people assigned to the care giving tasks can help tremendously.
Considering Home Monitoring for a loved one? Why not consider Live Operator Care Calls?
Involving Your Parent
Getting organized as a caregiver to care for a senior in his or her home should ideally involve the person being cared for! In this way, he or she will have a sense of participating in the care and knowing where things are kept and so on. If there are other family members or home care visiting nurses coming into the home, your senior relative will know pertinent information as well and will feel more in control.
Organizing the Home for Care
Elderly people may resist to a lot of re-organizing in the home. After all, he or she has likely lived in this home for a long time and has organized things exactly how he or she would like it. However, in the event of gradual frailty or illnesses, some things may need to happen to make sure that the home is not cluttered or difficult to manage. Especially important is ease of moving about in the home without the fear of falling or other safety or health concerns. The less cluttered things are, the less stress. An organized home will be easier to clean and maintain as well. So, consider some marathon sessions with your elderly family member to go through knick knacks and any paper clutter, etc. as well as making a safety checklist of the home to see what can be improved to ensure that caring for your elderly family member at home will be efficient and comfortable for everyone.
Becoming the Organized Caregiver
Caring for someone at home will also require the caregiver to be organized in his or her personal life! Often, caring for a senior adds to an already busy schedule and the more organized a person is, the better. If you are new to the task, getting organized up front will help you manage the increased work load and reduce stress.
One major way to prepare to care for an elderly person at home is to get yourself a good calendar. Some people like to organize things on paper-based pocket calendars - but there are great tools online as well. For instance, our free calendar helps you not only organize, but also you can set up email and/or text alerts so that you are given automatic reminders for recurrent appointments, tasks, or prescription refills and one-time events. You can also set up alerts and reminders for other family members. Whichever calendar you use, you should set a time each week to review your week ahead and check for conflicts and how you will manage your to do lists.
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