#7 – My friends who have been caregivers say that a lot of what they did was organize paperwork. Is that helpful?

Click here to see the prior item in this series:  What does a geriatric care manager do? 

My friends who have been caregivers say that a lot of what they did was organize paperwork.   Is that a good way to be helpful?

Yes. That’s one way that a long-distance caregiver can be a big help.  An important part of effective caregiving depends on keeping a great deal of information in order and up-to-date. Often, long-distance caregivers will need access to a parent’s personal, health, financial and legal records. If you have ever tried to gather and organize your own personal information, you know what a chore it can be.

Getting  all this material together is a lot of work at first, and from far away it can seem even more challenging. But once you have gathered everything together, many other caregiving tasks will be easier. Maintaining current information about your parent’s health and medical care, as well as finances, home ownership, and other legal issues, lets you get a handle on what is going on and allows you to respond more quickly if there is a crisis. If you do not see your parent often, one visit may not be enough time for you to get all the paperwork organized. Instead, try to focus on gathering the essentials first; you can fill in the blanks as you go along.

You might begin by talking to your parent and his or her primary caregiver about the kinds of records that need to be pulled together. If a primary caregiver is already on the scene, chances are that some of the information has already been assembled. Talk about any missing information or documentation and how you might help to organize the records. It is also a good idea to check at the same time to make sure that all financial matters, including wills and life insurance policies, are in order. It will also help if someone also has a durable power of attorney (the legal document naming one person to handle financial and property issues for another).

Your parents may be reluctant to share personal information with you. Explain that you are not trying to invade their privacy or take over their personal lives—you are only trying to assemble what will be needed in the event of an emergency. Assure them that you will respect their privacy, and then keep your promise. If your parents are still uncomfortable, ask if they would be willing to work with an attorney (some lawyers specialize in elder affairs)

Click here to see the next item in this series:  What information should a caregiver keep track of?

 Acorn wishes to acknowledge the National Institute on Aging for this valuable content.

 

Within Acorn’s service area of Chapel Hill, Durham and surrounding areas in North Carolina (Hillsborough, Pittsboro, Morrisville, Cary, and Apex) the following resources may be especially helpful:

  • Orange County Department on Aging, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27516, (919) 968-2070
  • Durham Center for Senior Life, 406 Rigsbee Avenue – Suite 202, Durham, North Carolina   27701, (919) 688-8247
  • Chatham County Council on Aging, 365 North Carolina 87, Pittsboro, North Carolina   27312, (919) 542-4512
  • Triangle J Area Agency on Aging, 4307 Emperor Boulevard
- Suite 110, Durham, NC 27703, 919-558-2711
  • Resources for Seniors (Wake County), 1110 Navaho Dr.  – Suite 400, Raleigh, NC 27609, 919-872-7933

 

 

This service has regrettably been disabled. This message is purely being displayed as to not cause any damage to any website connected to this feature.