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Organized? Checklist for Caregivers

Do you care for an older adult and sometimes wonder if all that information–financial, personal, medical, and insurance related details–is really necessary?  Have you postponed organizing the details or collecting it all in one place?

If you’re new to caregiving, it can sometimes be hard to imagine why you might need access to so much information. Sometimes it helps us to imagine a real scenario so we understand how to prepare.

Think about this…What if you received an emergency call at work that your loved one is incoherent and being transported to the hospital?  What if the primary physician is out of town and cannot be reached immediately?

What if you were told that the emergency physician needs details on medical history and a list of medications to determine the course of treatment? And the hospital needs to know insurance information?

What do you do?

Take the quick assessment below. If you answer “No” to any of the questions it could be important that you strive towards “YES”, for your own peace of mind.


  • Do you have copies of the Medicare card and a copy of the insurance Medicare tie-in plan card?  Yes/No
    (if not, make a copy of the card, front and back for your file and future reference.)
  • Does your loved one have a prescription drug plan? Do you know the name of the carrier and the policy number?
    (Make a copy of the card, front and back.)


  • Does your loved one have an Advanced Directive (Living Will)? Do you have a copy of it?  Yes/No
  • Does your loved one have a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare? (Healthcare Proxy) Do you have a copy of it?  Yes/No
  • Do you have a listing of current medications?  Yes/No
  • Are you aware of changes or discontinued medications by the primary physician or specialist?  Yes/No
  • Are you aware of any allergies to medications?  Yes/No


  • Do you have the contact information for the primary physician?   Yes/No
  • Are you aware of any assisted devices (walking, hearing or seeing)?    Yes/No


  • Are you aware of monthly expenses that must be paid? Yes/No
  • Does your loved one have enough cash to cover monthly expenses such as utilities, insurance premiums?  Yes/No

If you answered “Yes” to most or all, celebrate how prepared you are and know that your loved one is very fortunate to have you involved in his or her care.  If you answered “No” to any or even most of the above, consider taking time today to begin organizing any needed information appropriate to your loved one’s situation.  Recognize that getting organized is a process and that your loved one is fortunate that you are involved in his or her care.  If you need help or feel stressed about your role, call Jacqueline at the Caregiver Institute at Shepherd’s Center for some friendly support and answers to any questions you may have…there’s no charge.  Call 816-444-1122.

—this article was contributed by Janet W. Watson