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A caregiver notebook is essential for keeping track of important information about your older adult. There are so many details involved in caregiving, nobody can remember them all.
That’s where a good caregiver notebook can help. Having everything you need to care for your older adult in one place saves time, reduces mental clutter, and decreases stress. Instead of searching for prescription details, dates of service, or policy numbers, you could take a break to rest and recharge.
Springwell’s (a non profit group) has put together 36 template pages to choose from. Don’t feel like you need to use every page or even feel like you need all the information on each page BUT it’s a good start.
As you develop your Caregiver Notebook … keep the pages in a standard 3 ring binder dedicated to your caregiving notebook. Use dividers to keep each section separate so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.
Recommendations for the most useful pages + walkthrough guide
Recommended sections are marked with ** and bold text.
Section 1 – At A Glance
● ** Critical Information – (page 5) An excellent brief summary of health information that’s essential for emergency situations.
● ** Emergency Room Checklist – (page 6) The list of items to bring to the hospital (top half) is the most helpful part. (For a more complete emergency checklist, click here)
● Person(s) able to make Legal, Financial & Medical decisions in Elder’s Stead – (page 7) This is helpful if several people are responsible for different aspects of your older adult’s care. Summarizing the roles, responsibilities, and key info into one document makes sure everyone has the same understanding of the situation.
● Home Emergency Information – (page 8) This list of contacts and information for home utilities and other emergency contacts is helpful, but not essential.
● Important Personal Contacts – (page 9) A list for your older adult’s personal contacts. If you need to get in touch with people in your older adult’s life who you may not know, this list is nice to have.
● Monthly Schedule Tracking Calendar – (page 10) Use this blank calendar if you’d like to create your own monthly caregiving calendar with key appointments, notes, meals, etc.
Section 2 – Care Providers
● Caregiver Information – (pages 11-12) Record detailed information about caregivers on your team and what they do to care for your older adult.
● Professional Service Providers – (pages 13-14) Record key information about services your older adult uses, like a care community, home care agency, or housekeeping.
● About the Elder Elder’s Self Care Abilities and Needs – (pages 15-16) When introducing a new hired caregiver, this information helps them get to know your older adult’s likes, dislikes, and important facts about their life. It also covers their abilities and things they need help with.
● ** Daily Activity Log – (page 17) Take notes on what happens during your older adult’s day. This is especially helpful if you’re looking for patterns that might trigger difficult behavior, managing incontinence, watching for medication side effects, training a new caregiver, sharing info with family, and more. If your older adult has an in-home caregiver, this gives you a great summary.
Section 3 – Medical
● ** Medication and Pharmacy Information – (page 18) Keep an up-to-date list of all your older adult’s medications, vitamins, and supplements.
● ** Health Log – (page 19) This is a useful log if your older adult has a health condition that needs to be closely monitored. For example, if they’re diabetic, this helps you track their blood sugar. Or, use it to track blood pressure. Use only the columns that you need or re-label to suit your situation.
● ** Medical Information – (page 20) This is a useful way to quickly summarize major events in your older adult’s health history. It would be especially helpful when getting started with a new doctor or during an emergency.
● Important Medical Events – (page 21) More detailed tracking for medical events. This is helpful if your older adult is often in and out of health facilities like hospitals or skilled nursing/rehab facilities.
● ** Important Tests – (page 22) Complex health conditions mean lots of tests – X-ray, blood test, etc. Keep an overview of your older adult’s tests, results, and key info.
● ** Physicians and Specialists – (pages 22-25) Very important info! Keep all your older adult’s doctor information in one place for easy access and so you can share it with family or emergency personnel as needed.
Section 4 – Call Log/Visit Notes
● Call Log – (page 26) If you’re dealing with something complex and ongoing, it helps to keep a log to remind you of who you spoke to and what was discussed. For example, this could help when you’re trying to straighten out a billing problem or an insurance claim issue.
● ** Upcoming Doctor Visit Notes – (page 27) The best part of this sheet is that it gets you prepared to get the most out of your older adult’s next doctor’s appointment. Start these notes a month ahead of time to give you plenty of time to notice issues and think of questions.
Section 5 – Legal, Financial and End of Life – Important Information
● Location of Key Documents and Important Papers – (page 28) Keep track of where important documents are located. For some, it might be easier to just gather all the important documents and store them together in one location.
● Legal, Investment and Accounting Contacts – (page 29) Pulling these key contacts together will make must them easier to find.
● Insurance (non-medical) Information and Contacts – (page 30) Keep track of necessary info like home, life, or auto insurance policies.
● Banking Information – (page 31) This is very sensitive information, so be careful who has access to these pages. Depending on the situation, you may not want to write everything down in one place. You could still use it to jot a few notes or key facts about the banking info.
● Income, Expenses and Net Worth – (page 32) This is also sensitive information. This summary can help you create a budget for your older adult and understand how much medical and personal care they can afford.
● Monthly and Quarterly Bills – (page 33) Managing finances can be overwhelming. This is a way to keep bills organized and make sure payments are made on time.
● End of Life Instructions – (page 34) This isn’t a legal document, but does help gather key info about end-of-life wishes.
A Family Reflection And A Promise Kept
THE CAREGIVER ROLE
What is a Caregiver
The Caregiver Defined
Who Do Caregivers Care For
Accepting the Reality of Dementia
6 Steps to Successful Caregiving
Caregiver's Are Not Alone
Asking For & Getting Help
The Caregiver Code
Rights of a Caregiver
Unmet Needs Of A Caregiver
Caregiver And Work
Feelings And Caregiver Stress
Questions & Answers
TYPES OF DEMENTIA
(Defined, Symptoms & Brain Changes)
STRESS, COPING & FEELINGS
The Caregiver Code
Rights of The Caregiver
Coping With Stress
Feelings And Caregiver Stress
Stages Of Alzheimer's
Helping Children Understand
Protecting Yourself From Burnout
Making Time For Reflection
How is Competency Defined?
Power of Attorney
What is an Advanced Directive?
Do I Really Need a Will or a Trust?
Importance of Communication
Communicating With Someone Who Has Alzheimer's
Your Approach Sets The Tone
Think Before You Speak
Doing Tasks Together
Having Trouble Being Understood
Keeping a Dementia Journal
Making Caregiving Easier - Caregiver Notebook
Things NOT To Do
When It Just Fails
What is Alzheimer's
Why is Alzheimer's Different
Stages of Alzheimers
Can Alzheimers be Inherited
The Mortality Question
TIPS AND ISSUES
New To Family Caregiving?
Tips For Dealing with Aggression
Places To Turn For Caregiver Supoort
Take Advantage of Community Support
Random Tips From Other Caregivers
Providing Long Distance Care
When To Stop Driving
Dealing With Family Conflict
Tips on Sundowning
Ways to Reduce Sundowning Challenges (part A)
Ways to Reduce Sundowning Challenges (part B)
Helping Children Understand
Pet & Toy Therapy
Getting Someone to Take Medications
Tips For Medical Appointments
Dealing With Resistance
Tips For Day To Day
Intimacy And Sexuality
Visiting A Person With Dementia
Music And Dementia
Tips For Holidays And Gatherings
Art as Home Therapy
What Can I Do To Be A More Effective Caregiver
Dealing with False Dementia Accusations
Responding to Common Dementia Accusations
Steps to Effective Problem Solving
Hallucinations / Paranoia
Verbal / Screaming
Wanting to 'Go Home'
RESEARCH & DONATIONS