Having information at your fingertips reduces caregiver stress
There are so many details involved in caregiving, nobody can possibly remember everything.
That’s where a good caregiver notebook can help. It’s a central place to keep track of important information about your older adult.
Having everything you need to care for your older adult in one place saves time, reduces mental clutter, and decreases stress.
For example, instead of searching for prescription details, dates of service, or policy numbers, all the info would be in your notebook. You could use those 15 minutes to take a break, rest, and recharge.
To make it easy to keep useful notes, we found an excellent, comprehensive, and free caregiver notebook template from Springwell.
It covers all aspects of life – daily, medical, personal care, financial, and legal.
We explain how to get the most out of this caregiver notebook template and give an overview of the contents with recommendations on the most sections we found most helpful.
How to get the most out of this caregiver notebook template
Springwell’s caregiver notebook template has 36 pages to choose from.
To keep things manageable, test out a few notebook pages to see how it will work for you (see our recommendations below).
After you get more familiar with the notebook, you’ll likely find additional pages that would be helpful.
Springwell also shares tips for getting the most out of their templates. Here are the 5 we found most helpful:
- Pace yourself by choosing the pages and sections that are most relevant now and start there.
- Get creative. For example, the monthly calendar can be used for more than just medical appointments. You could create calendars for tracking calls to make, prescription refill dates, bills to pay, etc.
- To make certain pages more portable, you could keep them in a separate (smaller) “travel” binder.
- Photocopy important papers to put into the binder for reference, but keep the originals in a safe place.
- Gathering financial information can be overwhelming. One way to start is by collecting a month’s worth of mail. That gives you a snapshot of existing bills and monthly financial statements. The most recent tax return is another good source of financial information.
Caregiver notebook template overview and top recommendations
We explain what each caregiver notebook page is used for, where it’s located, and how it could help you. Recommended pages are marked with **
Section 1 – At A Glance
● ** Critical Information – Page 5
An excellent brief summary of health information that’s essential for emergency situations.
● ** Emergency Room Checklist – Page 6
The list of items to bring to the hospital (top half) is the most helpful part. To add to this list, use our hospital essentials emergency checklist here.
● Person(s) able to make Legal, Financial & Medical decisions in Elder’s Stead – Page 7
This is helpful if several people are responsible for different aspects of your older adult’s care.
Summarizing the roles, responsibilities, and key info into one document makes sure everyone has the same understanding of the situation.
● Home Emergency Information – Page 8
This list of contacts and information for home utilities and other emergency contacts is helpful, but not essential.
● Important Personal Contacts – Page 9
A list for your older adult’s personal contacts. If you need to get in touch with people in your older adult’s life who you may not know, this list is nice to have.
● Monthly Schedule Tracking Calendar – Page 10
Use this blank calendar if you’d like to create your own monthly caregiving calendar with key appointments, notes, meals, non-daily medications, etc.
Section 2 – Care Providers
● Caregiver Information – Pages 11 – 12
Record detailed information about caregivers on your team and what they do to care for your older adult.
● Professional Service Providers – Pages 13 – 14
Record key information about services your older adult uses, like their assisted living community, adult day program, home care agency, privately hired in-home caregiver, or housekeeping service.
● About the Elder – Page 15-16
When introducing a new hired caregiver, this information helps them get to know your older adult’s likes, dislikes, and important facts about their life.
It also covers their abilities and things they need help with.
● ** Daily Activity Log – Page 17
Take notes on what happens during your older adult’s day.
This is especially helpful if you’re looking for patterns that might trigger challenging behavior, managing incontinence, watching for medication side effects, training a new caregiver, sharing info with family, and more.
If your older adult has an in-home caregiver, this page would give you a great summary of what happened that day.
Section 3 – Medical
● ** Medication and Pharmacy Information – Page 18
Keep an up-to-date list of all your older adult’s medications, vitamins, and supplements.
● ** Health Log – Page 19
This is a useful log if your older adult has a health condition that needs to be closely monitored.
Use only the columns that you need or re-label them to suit your situation.
● ** Medical Information – Page 20
This is a useful way to quickly summarize major events in your older adult’s health history.
It would be especially helpful when getting started with a new doctor or during an emergency.
● Important Medical Events – Page 21
More detailed tracking for medical events.
This is helpful if your older adult is often in and out of health facilities like hospitals or skilled nursing/rehab facilities.
● ** Important Tests – Page 22
Complex health conditions mean lots of tests – X-ray, blood test, etc. Keep an overview of your older adult’s tests, results, and key info.
● ** Physicians and Specialists – Page 23 – 25
Very important info! Keep all your older adult’s doctor information in one place for easy access and so you can share it with family or emergency personnel as needed.
Section 4 – Call Log/Visit Notes
● Call Log – Page 26
If you’re dealing with something complex and ongoing, it helps to keep a log to remind you of who you spoke to and what was discussed.
For example, this could help when you’re trying to straighten out a billing problem or an insurance claim issue.
● ** Upcoming Doctor Visit – Page 27
This useful sheet helps you get the most out of your older adult’s next doctor’s appointment.
If you start these notes a month ahead of the appointment, you’ll have plenty of time to notice issues and think of questions.
Section 5 – Legal, Financial and End of Life – Important Information
● Location of Key Documents – CONFIDENTIAL – Page 28
Keep track of where important documents are located.
For some, it might be easier to just gather all the important documents and store them together in one location.
● Legal, Investment and Accounting Contacts – Page 29
Pulling these key contacts together will make must them easier to find.
● Insurance Information and Contacts – Page 30
Keep track of necessary info like home, life, or auto insurance policies.
● Banking Information – CONFIDENTIAL – Page 31
This is very sensitive information, so be careful who has access to these pages.
Depending on the situation, you may not want to write everything down in one place. You could just use it to jot a few reminders or key facts about the banking info.
● Income, Expenses and Net Worth – Page 32
This is also sensitive information. This summary can help you create a budget for your older adult and understand how much medical and personal care they can afford.
● Monthly and Quarterly Bills – Page 33
Managing finances can be overwhelming. This helps keep bills organized and make sure payments are made on time.
● End of Life Instructions – Page 34
This isn’t a legal document, but does help gather key info about end-of-life wishes.
You might want to skip this form and use something like the Five Wishes living will instead.
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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Canadian Family
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