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eco_bindersAccording to the Family Caregiver Alliance an estimated seven million Americans assist with managing the care of an elderly relative or friend while living long distance.  Organization is key to providing this care while still maintaining one’s sanity and health.  Start by purchasing a three ring binder from your favorite retail outlet. Your binder needs to serve as a roadmap that you can access easily whenever a concern arises for your loved one. 

power_of_attorneyFirst keep a list of all the locations of important papers and who has copies of these papers. Important papers should include wills, power of attorneys, insurance policies, lists of checking and saving accounts, list of credit cards, deeds, military/veteran papers, and birth certificates.

Next include in your binder contact information of resources and the team involved in assisting you care for your loved ones.  Include local agencies like the Areawide aging agencies, home care agencies, home health agencies, social workers and physicians.  For example, if your loved one is being seen by a home health agency have the agency number plus the personal cell phone of the case manager to contact them about any concerns you have.

Medical-HistoryInclude a section on your loved one’s medical history, especially allergies, medical profile, major surgeries and a medication list.  It is important to also have this list posted in the loved ones home if they are still living independently, since it will be needed by emergency personnel if they are ever called.  These are just a few suggestions, but make the notebook work for you so you have everything in one place.

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