10 Caregiver Tips to Get Started in the New Year

Family Caregiver

We are well into the new year of 2014, and with a new year comes new lists. To start this new year off right, Familymeans' "Caregiver Connection" wanted to start you off with a list of items that all caregivers should have on their mind for this year.

Browse through our list, and let us know of some other items to keep in mind for caregiver needs in 2014, in case we missed something!

1. Keep Records of All Medications.  

Make notes about what works, what doesn’t, the size, shape, and color of medication (because these factors change among medications) and when you first noticed any side effects.

2. Keep Records of All Doctor Appointments in a Three Ring Binder.

Include the reason for the visit, the doctor’s responses, any procedures performed, and follow-up appointments, etc.

3. Start or Continue to Maintain Copies of Medical Records and History.

This can allow others to attend appointments when you cannot.

4. Plan for the Unexpected.

Discuss personal wishes to everyone involved. Talk about your medical values/beliefs and final resting places. These conversations are true gifts that you give to others.

5. Complete a Health Care Directive.

Give to the primary physician, clinic and all agents/relatives who may be involved.

6. Complete a Will or Update the One You Have.

Without a signed Will, the courts will decide how to distribute your possessions. A general rule of updating important papers is when one of the 5 D’s has occurred: a death, a divorce, a decline in health, a new chronic diagnosis, and/or a decade has passed.

7. Keep a “Locator List”

A "Locator List" is a list which records where all important documents are kept. When an emergency/tragedy occurs, locating information should not be where we spend our thoughts and energies. Begin a list of where such items can be found.

8. Record all Monetary and Sentimental involvements.

Investments, resources, business transactions, and family heirlooms/photos are important to share with others.

9. Have an insurance analysis done.

Is your home, life and health insurance still appropriate for your family’s needs? What about the insurance policies for your loved ones? Review your coverage.

10.  Take Care of Yourself!

Without you, where would your care receiver be?

FamilyMeans can help you get started on this list and bring you peace of mind. The Caregiver Support team has resources to share on how to begin keeping your own medical history information and locator list and forms for health care directives. Please e-mail or call FamilyMeans Community Educator, Jenny West, at 651-789-4015 or jwest@familymeans.org.