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Strategies for Staying Organized While Caregiving

Balancing care for a sick or aging loved one with other obligations and duties like child-rearing, your career, marriage, home, etc., can pose many challenges. It can feel overwhelming, exhausting, and possibly even frightening at times to be responsible for someone’s complete well-being. Creating a system for organization can greatly simplify your life and help you use your time and energy more efficiently. It might seem implausible to maintain order in such a hectic situation, but a reasonably small amount of effort applied regularly will prove to be far easier than frantically trying to handle common mishaps and larger emergencies. We’ve got you covered with five easy tips to keep you organized and ready for anything. Read on below!

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1. Keep Important Information Close 

When you have a busy schedule, it’s imperative to simplify your daily routine as much as possible. Keeping your loved one’s important information nearby, in one place, is imperative for staying organized and allows you to quickly problem-solve and execute tasks. Make sure to put together a list of names and contact info for anyone or anyplace that may be relevant to your loved one’s care, or whose services may be necessary. See below for a few ideas to get you started:

  • Doctors and specialists
  • Nearest hospital
  • Primary pharmacy and at least a couple of alternatives
  • Insurance companies
  • Lawyers
  • A list of current medications and doses, along with information about the purpose of each medication
  • Important documentation for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other key services 

2. Make A System for Medication Management

It’s common for people who are dealing with illness or are of advanced age to forget to take their medications, not get prescriptions filled, or even take the wrong amount of medication. Help set your loved one up for success by implementing the below:

  • Purchase a Pill Organizer

Pill organizers keep your medications separated in individual compartments and many have AM and PM options as well.

  • Plan a schedule

Some medications need to be taken at specific times of the day, with or without food. Set an alarm on your phone or watch, or utilize a “talking” pill organizer that gives audio and/or vibrating cues when pills should be taken. Taking medications at the same times every day will help them establish a habit that’s easier to remember as well. 

  • Consult with the doctor and pharmacist

It’s important to talk to your loved one’s doctor every once in a while about all of their prescriptions. Sometimes they may no longer need certain drugs, or some tweaking of dosages may be in order. If multiple doses are too hard to remember, doctors can sometimes prescribe an alternative that doesn’t need to be taken as frequently. 

3. Declutter and Create Systems

Our to-do list only grows with each passing day, and not being able to find essential items or feeling overwhelmed by clutter only adds to your stress. Decluttering your life and creating simple systems that will help you to create long-term order, will greatly improve your life. If the idea of tackling major projects feels like too much, start with just five minutes at a time! Make it a goal to give one item away each day. This would remove 365 items every single year from your home! Increase this number once it gets easier. Fill an entire trash bag with things you can donate to charity. Make sure everything in your house has a “home.” Every item has a place where it belongs and should be put back after it’s finished being used. 

4. Prepare An Emergency Folder

Emergencies happen, and having a plan in place will help to give you and your loved one peace of mind. Put together a folder of all the essential information you will need to have on hand when an urgent situation arises. This folder might include your loved one’s:

  • Insurance papers
  • Contact information for friends and family
  • Medications and allergies
  • Doctors and specialists
  • Medical conditions
  • Copy of will
  • Copies of social security cards and birth certificates

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5. Put Things Away Immediately

Rather than thinking, “I’ll get to it later,” work on putting things away immediately. This tactic will enable you to maintain an orderly living space. Enroll your children in this as well, by enforcing the “Pickup Rule.”  Teach them to pick up after themselves and put things away before getting the next item out.

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