Bringing awareness to Alzheimer’s and Caregiving never ends but it is the last day of the designated month where the Alzheimer’s Association focuses its attention on an important intersection between National Family Caregiver’s and Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness, by raising awareness on each individual campaign and how they intertwine. National Family Caregivers Month honors the relatives, friends and neighbors involved in caring for family members needing assistance in the home.
Lets say you are a new caregiver, what do you do first?
I’m honest, you may need to cry and let it out because sometimes all that you can do is stand, be uncomfortable with the moment and then release it. Once you’ve let it all go, it’s time to move forward because nothing is changing yet everything you’re dealing with is changing. In the beginning of my mother’s changes, I didn’t have a plan, making it through each day was my plan. But when I was able to get her engaged into a TV program, listening to music or even helping me out with a chore, like folding towels which was her favorite. Helping me out made her feel good that she was still needed and viewed as able person; those moments were my time to make lists, make appointments, plot my best course of action in order to be the best that I could be for her. As well as take stock of what my needs were in order to be the best caregiver to her, our home and our dog.
A family caregiver provides countless of unpaid hours that can eventually take effect on you physically. In a later post I will get into the physical effects, but this post is about the recognition of caregivers and if you are one, what you can do to start organizing your life.
Start with a check list and list, which will serve as a guide to get you thinking about papers and information you’ll need at the ready, what information you currently don’t have and should and making sure everything you need for your loved one is in a designated location where you can go to grab it. I highly recommend using folders, I used an accordion style folder to keep all of my mother’s papers together and it provided a section for each subject matter, doctors, financial, medical, etc.
Here is a recommended checklist to get you or someone you know started:
- Birth certificate
- Social Security records
- Health and life insurance records
- The names and phone numbers of your primary care doctor, as well as significant specialists
- Advance directives. If you don’t have an advance directive, start with your family doctor, attorney or long-term care facility
- Medical documentation
- Military records
- Pertinent marriage, divorce, death certificates
- Trust and Will documents
- Assets and sources of income
- Bank accounts/safe-deposit box
- Mortgage and/or property and land ownership papers
- Investment records
- Credit cards
- The most recent income tax return
- Loans, payments and balances
Other resources for caregivers are:
National Alliance for Caregiving