Maintaining a simple filing system at home is an excellent idea – for anyone, but especially for individuals over age 65. Relatives and friends will occasionally be called upon to help handle financial or medical matters, so having easy access to accurate records is important.
Your filing system does not need to be expensive or elaborate, but it should be organized. Many find that using colored folders to be helpful. Expandable file folders can also be useful, as they easily hold all your documents in one place. Working with an agency that utilizes homecare software, or a robust homecare system, like the one available from ClearCare, also ensures that certain documents will be available for quick access to home care providers.
In a folder marked “Personal Identification,” keep a photocopies of driver’s licenses, authorized copies of birth certificates, social security cards, and passports. If you would rather keep the originals in a fire-safe box, make copies for this folder. You will also want the following:
• Names, addresses, and relationship of close family members
• Names, addresses, and phone numbers of your primary physician, lawyer and financial advisor
• Living will or location of your will
• Durable power of attorney
• A copy of your advanced directive
These documents will also be helpful when enrolling with a homecare agency that utilizes a homecare software or homecare system, such as ClearCare. Note that agencies who utilize a homecare system are more likely to have speedy access to your emergency contact information in case of an unexpected medical event or other emergency.
Ask your doctor for a copy of your medical chart. This allows your family members and emergency responders quick access to your medical history. It is also useful to have if you visit a new doctor such as a specialist, experience an emergency situation, or need to ensure that your home care provider has a note of medical conditions and medications in their homecare software . You should also be able to quickly provide:
• Phone numbers for your doctor, pharmacy, emergency services, and local hospital
• Complete list of medical conditions, allergies, past illnesses, operations, and immunizations
• Accurate list of all current prescription and non-prescription (OTC) medications
• Health Insurance Policy
• Medicare and Medicaid information, including member numbers
Allowing homecare providers to have notes of your medications, allergies and insurance information in their homecare system ensures that caregivers are constantly aware of vital medical information.
Your financial folder should hold all your banking information, including account numbers for checking and savings accounts, IRAs, 401(k), assets, stocks, bonds, and loan details. This folder is also for:
• Insurance policies and your agent’s contact information
• Real estate deed, mortgages, titles, and notes
• Automotive titles and registrations
• Personal property inventory
• Credit card names and numbers
The last folder you will need is for all your tax information and past tax returns. Keep accurate records of your income (including Social Security and pension) and all expenses. If you have assets (such as jewelry) that you keep in a safety deposit box, make sure that your records include the location of the box and key.
Many families find that working with a home care agency that utilizes a robust homecare software of homecare system, such as that offered by ClearCare, as an effective way of keeping care plans organized. It allows family members easy access to their loved one’s care logs and keeps homecare running smoothly. Like a good filing system, home care software is just another way to keep your life simple and organized.