I think I have a love/hate relationship with being too organized. Being the ultimate nerd, I love collecting and analyzing data. But…those darn files need to be organized so they are accessible and available.
Hence Tip #3 for caregivers relates to organization skills.
Being organized as a couple, when one spouse is living with dementia, is a wise plan. Trying to find ways to reduce stress, as roles and responsibilities change, will help relieve some of the future uncertainties.
So what roles and responsibilities do you assume in your relationship?
In old school traditional marriages, the wife may manage the household domain; insuring the home, meals, and household duties are managed. In this type of coupling, the husband is generally in charge of outdoor care, repairs, and maintaining home equipment, as well as vehicles.
So what happens when one spouse is unable to continue in their role of managing their area of expertise?
One great idea is to consider creating a Household Information Binder. Creating a resource book will help maintain a sense of organization, and will cue as to upcoming tasks.
When the spouse who normally manages that task has changes in their memory, there is a backup plan to assist the spouse.
How to build a household binder:
- Use dividers in the binder to separate sections into months. This will make it easier when checking a month at a glance for items requiring attention.
- In each section place a list of items that need to be attended to in that month, including directions to complete the task. This may include the telephone numbers of professionals previously used by the family.
Example: A furnace filter change reminder with the information about the type, and place of purchase
Example: For country dwellers, maybe it’s time to clean the cistern. Who completes this task?
- Listing the names and contact information of trusted contractors reduces stress, and provides a great reference source to assist in future decision making.
- Binder entries can extend to such items as, reminders for oil changes, insurance renewals etc.
- Listing names and contact information for health care providers, pharmacies, denturists, etc. is also a great resource
- Is there an assigned Power Of Attorney of Health for both members of the couple?
- Are there Living Wills or Health Care Directives?
The more comprehensive, the better the resource.
Another consideration is to review the organization of financial information:
- Is there an assigned Power of Attorney (Property) ? (If one member of the couple is living with dementia, how will this impact their future decision making, if the caregiver becomes ill?)
- Is banking information organized in a secure place, so that if required, the Power of Attorney (Property) will be able to provide support? (If the caregiver has health issues.)
Think about contingencies for transportation should health change and driver's licenses are affected:
- Is there a special service (transit) in your area that transports seniors?
- What are the qualifiers to access this type of service?
Can you think of other future needs, that will impact your abilities to continue living as independently as possible, as a couple?
Now the mental wheels are turning, what else can you do to prepare for the future?
These are only a few considerations when a care partner is planning for a rainy day. Don't wait too long to get organized...it may already be raining.
Watch for tip #4: Keep your Body and Brain active!
The following information is not intended as legal or medical advice. In all cases, contact your health care professional and / or legal counsel.