I want to make an "all you need to know" binder for my elderly parents and home health nurses. Any suggestions?

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So, I have this idea and I need help. I want to make a binder for each of my parents with everything they need to know about anything - something they can reference instead of relying on the internet (scary place for old folks). Also it would be something for their home health nurses to reference when they take them out for appointments, etc. I want it to include pouches for insurance cards, copies of insurance cards, copies of SS cards, copies of health policies, car insurance policy, numbers for lawn care, numbers for errand services, numbers for adult day services, numbers for snow removal, copy of lease agreement, budget sheet, tax preparation checklist, etc. Anything you can think of that you'd want your loved one to be able to reference easily and conveniently, please respond! I think this will solve a lot of confusion issues. I can always tell my mom and dad and their nurses to "check the binder in section _______, it should have everything you need to know, and come ask me if you can't find it." I'd also make myself one so I can reference anything they're looking for. (can you tell I'm an organization nut?)

Answers 1 to 10 of 32
Also, I'd want to include a list of dental, vision, and medical clinics that take their medicaid and medicare!
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My folder for my husband included a list of all medications, dosage, and prescribing doctor. Once when he needed an ambulance the emt was very pleased that I had that, and suggested that I also make up a health history sheet, which I did.

In the folder were copies of his POA document and healthcare directive. Also documents concerning his intention to donate his brain to a research project.

He had Lewy Body Dementia, which is not always known by medical professionals. The folder had several copies of basic information about the disease, aimed at ER staff. I gave one to an ER doctor who seemed very interested in it. It included a list of drugs he absolutely should not be given. (This was produced by the LBD Association.)

There was also a checklist I found on line somewhere of ADL's, to indicate his current baseline.
AJ excellent idea but keep it simple. A three ring binder with clearly maked divisions would be ideal. One thing I would caution against including SS#s
For example group names as you would in a filing cabinet Make generic names such as healthcare where you will list health providers, insurance, a copy of their cards keep originals separate. Utility companies, Trades people like plumbers and electricians, include location of water turn off and electric fuse box.
If any of these people have left cards stick them in.
one of the most important things is a copy of their current medication and allergies, contact information for POA, DNR and advanced directives. Then there are the location of such things as Wills, Insurance policies etc. I would not include pockets or pouches things fall out and/or get lost
What you can do is laminate things that may need to be handed over like an insurance card that a facility may need to photocopy then punch holes so it can be snapped into the binder.
I would also have another small binder that contains the DNR etc credit card copies, drivers license and keep this in safe place at home. That way no paid caregivers can misuse information. You can make sealed pouches for the originalsand attach in the binder. That helps with "Now DD where did you say the safe deposit box keys are" "Well Mom they are in the folder in the top right hand drawer of Dad's desk. Look in section 3 and you will find them in a little plastic case with a velcro closure"
This is going to be a very long time consuming task and i redict you will make many prototypes. let us know your final layout as others will probably want to make their own folders
aj6044, you are very well organized.

I had something similar for my parents, I wanted them to fill out the information.
This mainly had to do with life issues in general that was available to me, and not to a caregiver. I included in their 3-ring large red binder [easy to find on a shelf] where I typed questions such as where can I find their legal papers, such as documents prepared and signed.... who is the Power of Attorney... Deed to the house.... who is their house insurance carrier.... where is their Will? Are there any codicils to the Will? Who is the Executor of their Will?.... who is their Elder Law Attorney?

Also had a section for finances, like did my parents have a pension plan, if so under who's name, account #, address of the financial institute who manages the plan, etc.... what banks do they have their checking/savings/money market accounts.... where can I find their stock [my folks had it scattered with different brokers].... credit card numbers and bank names... if any venues had automatic pay onto their credit card or pulled from their checking account... where are the mortgage papers.... did my folks have a safe deposit box and if yes at what bank and where is the key.

The binder also included if my parents had any coin collections or stamp collections. If they wanted to have the house sold after they passed, what Agent would they want the Executor to use?

A section under Elder Care I asked if they wanted to move to a retirement village, Assisted Living, or Long Term Care, what were the name of the places they would prefer. Would they allow caregivers to come into the house?.... would they allow cleaning people to come into the house?... who to mow their lawn?... do they have long-term-care insurance, or life insurance policies?....

Had section for Final Plans. Name of the cemetery? Which funeral home to use? Do they have a pre-paid funeral service and/or a grave site already purchased? Cremation or burial? If cremation, where to put the ashes.... type of church service... and in lieu of flowers, a favorite charity?

Computer, what is the password to get into their computer, and other passwords for different accounts?

I made copies of both of their birth certificates.... pocket for the original car title... pockets for a copy of their Will, POA's, Medical Directives, etc.

For tradespeople, I used an old fashioned Rolodex with the business cards taped to the cards.
I did the exact same thing for my in-laws, but since there were strangers coming in/out of the house all the time (Home Health, cleaning person, etc), I didn't include anything I wouldn't want the strangers to get ahold of.
Sadly, my in-laws simply didn't think to look in the binder when questions arose. It was easier to call me than to look through a very well organized binder for the answers. There's a part of me that thinks all their phone calls were just a way to reach out and make a phone call.
Good luck with your project, just make it as simple as possible for whatever stage they are in their journey.
I love this idea, and I think it's a great idea for everyone to have a "just in case" folder or binder with all the info someone would need if I were incapacitated, unable to speak for myself, or passed away.

Computer passwords for important programs/sites
People online to contact to inform of my situation (clients and important contacts)
Life insurance info
Advance directive info
Funeral info
etc...

Definitely, as others have said, don't include any personal identifiers such as SSN when using this resource with home health care folk, etc. Don't put info in there that you wouldn't give to any other stranger.
I like the idea of keeping health care info all together for each of your parents - so helpful for anyone caring for them !! Lovely idea!!
I strongly caution -
DO Not keep any personal or financial information in those binders that would be considered sensitive or could be used for identity theft and or fraud - social security numbers, bank info, checks, credit card details, etc. Keep that secured and separate -
 Only relevant info for caregivers should be easily accessible. 
It also avoids any unnecessary suspicion on the caregiver if there were any problems 


Let's not forget that our parents can easily place bank statements and stock statements around the house. My Dad's caregiver said my Dad was doing that, along with check books, etc. So when her shift was ending, she would place all that paperwork/checks into Dad's desk before the next shift arrived.

Dad still wanted his independence to review his stock statement as he still chatted with his Broker, and bank statements, so it took awhile for me to transfer those statements over to my address.

Dad still would pull out of his wallet his social security card, or his Medicaid card which had his social security number on it [Social Security is now replacing all those cards with new cards with a different number]. Dad only carried $25 in his wallet, never was that money ever taken.

Even before Dad was ready for caregivers, I went in and "froze" his credit just in case he had days where his thinking wasn't so sharp. To get info on that go to Clark Howard's website https://clark.com and at the search mode type in "credit freeze".
Great idea . .My nurses aid did an abbreviated version herself when she first came. I suggest you dont use original id info but photo/ scan copies. If its for your parents , do the phone number in a large easy to read font and maybe put it in plastic or laminated it. Keep an extra copy near phone so they dont feel isolated. Medical history is a good idea, Meds a must keep several copies so you can grab one as needed. The usual. doctors, utility , bank, legal, financial phone numbers. Id be careful about financial info and ss numbers too ..maybe keep in a simple lock box that is fireproof. You should also do a sheet on each parents preferences , likes , dislikes, This will make it easier for aids to reference when they have to give meds or prepare a meal ..etc .
Excellent ideas from each of the posters! The only thing I would elaborate on are Veronica's suggestions. I have separate binders for legal and medical issues, so that no legal information is available or blended in with medical information which would be reviewed more frequently.

All the legal information (as well as our taxes, notes, etc.) are stored upstairs in my studio, the door to which is always locked when I leave the house. Yes, it would create a stumbling block if the house ever caught fire, but I think the danger of being robbed (for a second time) is greater than fire.

When I really get organized, I'm going to get a scanner, scan all the medical and legal data onto separate DVDs and flash drives, so that it's much more portable. After watching so many horror videos of volcanoes, floods, tornados, I want something, very, very portable, and a flash drive would provide that. It'll be in a survival kit that I can grab as I dash out the door before a flood or other disaster occurs.

Lots and lots of good suggestions here....another big task to add to my to-do list!

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