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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?)

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I have just emailed DodoPad about this thread.

For those who have yet to come across them, DodoPads are the original-and-best "diary-doodle-memo-message-engagement-organiser-calendar" books. Some decades into production, they branched out into address books, gardeners' yearbooks, wedding planners, baby journals and the rest of it.

But no caregivers' aid, not yet. I will let you know what they say.
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freqflyer: That's spot on accurate! Oftentimes, computers will frustrate the elder so much because they may starting clicking icons that takes them into a "never-never land" of confusion. That can happen to someone younger, too. Sometimes I will, with one keystroke, lose everything I've just typed.
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I know it's incredibly sad, but FF has just put her finger on it, for me.

A binder is a GREAT idea. Don't be surprised or, worse, hurt if it sits forlornly on the shelf.

Goodness, I've still got a box full of them. The cardiology clinic, the Alzheimers Society, my community healthcare team... everyone had a helpful binder to give us.

Being a handwritten-or-you-don't-really-care person, my "binder" was a series of Moleskine exercise books. Px's, appointments, journal, key contacts, ICE information, memoranda - all in there.
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My Dad use to write computer code going way back to DOS, FORTRAN, COBOL but as he aged he found it more difficult to use his computer. Two main issues, not remembering his passwords even though he had them written down somewhere, and issues with aging eyes. He had the letters on his screen SO BIG it looked like the top letter on an eye chart.

My Mom stopped using the computer because of the arthritic hands, and also because of her eye sight.

Back when I was learning 30 years ago this new machine called a "personal computer" I was able to learn quickly because of my Dad. And when the Internet became popular it took me awhile to learn what were legit websites and what were snake oil websites. This is something one can't learn in a few weeks.

The binder I had for my parents with questions to fill out, it remained mostly blank. Dad did paste an advertisement of the funeral home he wanted to use, from his home town newspaper.
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People who are older can use the internet too. They don't need people acting like they can't use the internet. Maybe some people just need help figuring it out. Then they could learn how to look things up.
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I would also include a list of all allergies. And for drug allergies, if you know of alternate meds that can be safely taken. For instance I'm allergic to Percocet but can take Lortab.
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That's a great idea. You could probably make it easy on yourself by creating a document on the computer that can be updated as needed (I am not implying that your parents go on the computer).
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Add a copy of their marriage certificate & copy any P.O.A. papers so that anyone will be able to see right away who speaks for them if they can't themselves

Place phone numbers family & friends you might need to contact
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I just "googled" the Springwell Resource Caregiver Notebook.
WOW it has a lot of great info. Detailed, concise,
Thank you for sharing this info. I will pass it on to the Support Groups that I attend.
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Along with the list of medications and dosages, I included color pictures of what each pill looks like. This booklet I made included people who mom could call if she needed and help or a ride somewhere. Names of doctors, dentist, eye doctor and their numbers. When I went away on vacation, I would include a detailed list of who was coming to help and scheduled senior van rides to the nursing home to visit dad.
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Just attended an Alzheimer's support group and they gave us a link that has a great binder--it was my first time but many of them use it and tell anyone who is staying with their loved one where it is. Here is the link: www.springwell.com/resource/caregiver-notebook.
You need to send them your info and they will send you a pdf link to download and print. It comes highly, highly recommended by both moderator and members of my group. Also other good resources on this website.
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Do NOT include Social Security card or copies of them.
Insurance cards used to have Social Security number as an ID but that has since changed and I think the Medicare cards also have changed so it no longer includes the Social Security number.
I also would not include any bank info.

I had a binder that the caregivers could write in to document anything that happened, how he ate, last change, this way they could communicate or let me know what happened while I was gone. Sometimes all info is not given or in a rush something might be missed. The CNA from Hospice would sometimes write notes to the caregivers as well letting them know of an issue with the skin or other detail.

As far as emergency info I had a plastic shoe box and I wrote all the phone numbers on the lid and in the box I had a flashlight, gloves, bandages, hand sanitizer, note pad and a pen.

No one but me ever took him to the doctor so I did not have to worry about that.

I am guessing from your question that you do not live with your parents, or they do not live with you. If the same health care people take your parents to the doctor all the time the doctors office should have most of the info already, about the only time they ask to see your insurance card again is the beginning of the year when there may have been changes. But if there have been no changes it should not be a problem. And if the office still needs it for some reason you could easily fax it to the office while they are still there. Maybe even text a photo if you are not near a fax or can not email it to them.

I am hesitant to give out more info than is necessary.
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contents, sorry
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hello there, I did the same for my wife and mother when I did over the road trucking. just try to make easy that a young adult could get info from it. alphabetical is the easiest I found. table of contenents. hope this helps
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In May 2018, I released my new book titled, “Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending.” It includes chapters on caregiving basics, getting affairs in order, being an advocate, choosing housing options, facing spiritual issues and navigating to the finish line. I think this short and easy-to-read book might help you. It is available on Amazon. Best wishes.
Author Patti Greene
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SPN, I LOVE the book "The Big Book of Everything" and I am so glad that it is downloadable. Do wish that I could type in the PDF itself :(
Thanks for sharing this with us.
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I have found “The Big Book of Everything” which provides a free download of printable pages that help you to organize your important information for loved ones to be very helpful. (here’s the link www.erikdewey.com/bigbookmkII.pdf)
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DeeAnna, I'm glad that a better resolution was achieved. The SSA did a disservice to your family. But your mother's care is more important than getting rid of a bad employee, and I'm glad that she's pleased now and getting good care.
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The SSA still works at Mom's Nursing Home. She had managed to get the Nursing Home Administrator involved in the change of POA and since all of the legal stuff has been completed, neither the SSA nor the NH Administrator have talked to me.
{Oh, and ALL of my visits with Mom had to be supervised while all of the lawyer meetings were going on as the SSA was afraid that I might hurt Mom. From the very beginning of her stay at the nursing home, Mom would cry after each phone call and each of my visits even when the phone calls and visits were very positive. The nursing staff realized that Mom was depressed but the SSA didn't and still doesn't understand the relationship between my Mom and myself. SIGH.}

Mom is getting excellent care and the nursing staff is terrific so I don't want to move her to another facility which would mean driving to another town 30-45 miles away. I have talked with the Social Service Director about how much money I had to spend and how my own health has been negatively affected and she isn't happy about it, but if the NH Administrator won't fire the SSA, there is not too much the SSD can do. We live in a town of 8,000+ and there are not many Social Service people available to hire. Mom is content with her living arrangements and her medications are controlling her depression and delusions so that is all that matters. :)
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DeeAnna, that SSA really overstepped her bounds. I think that attempting to take control not only of an individual but her assets is a clear conflict of interest, and a violation of professional standards.

It's unfortunate that you had to expend so much time, energy and funds to straighten out the situation. I hope that SSA was either reprimanded or fired. I also think that reporting her to any SS association or accreditation organization wouldn't have been out of line.
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AJ, Great idea! I wish I'd thought of this when my Mom was living alone. She's with me now and I must start a medical binder. Financial folder will be simple 'cause we po folk! Lol

DeeAnna, hmm I think that SSA had some serious control issues! I would have been peeved. Good for you not giving in! I would have told her to pound sand.
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I agree with GA that the binders for legal and medical issues need to be separate.

I keep scanned copies of all of our farm information and bank statements. Mom and I have a binder for each farm and each bank account and one for medical information (so 6+ binders).

The "funny" (actually it became UN-Funny) part is that when Mom went to live in the Nursing Home after her hospitalization, she wanted all 6+ binders in her room at the nursing home. I told her "No" because they are confidential and have personal banking information in them.

Mom got extremely upset and accused me and my brother of stealing from her and gambling away the farms. The "by-the-book" Social Service Assistant (SSA) agreed with Mom. The SSA got upset with me when I refused to bring the binders up so the she (the SSA) could keep the binders in HER OFFICE in case Mom wanted to look at them. {Mom never asked to look at the binders the previous 4 months that she was in the nursing home and after the legal meetings were over, Mom has not asked to look at the binders either.}

The SSA wanted to help Mom "pay her bills". Mom knew what bills needed to be paid and when, but she hadn't written any checks for over 6 months--I was writing the checks. The SSA expected me to just hand over ALL of Mom and MY financial stuff to her. So the SSA helped Mom change her POA from me to our family attorney while Mom was experiencing a "full-brown" delusional episode.

I had to petition for guardianship and conservatorship (because of the farm businesses) of Mom. After spending thousands of dollars and having countless meetings with several different attorneys, Mom's court appointed "Attorney Ad Lidem" (who just happens to be an Elder Law Attorney) decided that Mom DID NOT know what she was doing when she changed her POA and the POA reverted back to me.

I called the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program after the POA was returned to me and we met with the Nursing Director and the Social Service Director to discuss what happened and how to prevent it from happening again. Mom has been transferred to the Memory Care Unit. If I have any questions about Mom, I talk to the Social Services Director and she attends the Care Plan Conferences instead of the Social Services Assistant.


https://clas.uiowa.edu/socialwork/sites/clas.uiowa.edu.socialwork/files/NursingHomeResource/documents/Katz%20ADL_LawtonIADL.pdf
This website has 2 different Independence in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Katz Index that looks at bathing, dressing, toileting, transfers, toileting, feeding oneself. And the Lawton-Brody Instrumental or Independent or Ancillary Activities of Daily Living (I-ADLs) that looks at using telephone, shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, driving car, taking medications, paying bills.

These are GREAT TOOLs in assessing your loved ones ability to take care of themselves. Also, Assisted Living and Nursing Home facilities AND Medicare and Medicaid ALL use ADLS as part of their assessment whenever they evaluate your loved one.

That is what I did for over 20 years. I completed the ADLs forms required by Medicare and Medicaid to determine the level of care that each resident needs (which in turn determines the “FEE” that the AL or NH can charge the resident).

Good Luck and God Bless!
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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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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 .
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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".
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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 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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