Besides improving personal fitness and saving money, getting and staying organized ranks among the top five New Years’ resolutions.

Fortunately, there’s a whole month for that – January, now known as “Get Organized” Month. And it couldn’t come at a better time… You can dive right in and stay on track from Day #1.

There’s no question that everyone benefits from getting and staying organized. But as we age – or as we care for aging loved ones – fine-tuning our personal organization skills becomes even more critical. At the very least, you’ll know where to find all of your important papers. And those documents will be in order if you, a caregiver or designated representative needs to gain access to them in an emergency.

Now Is The Perfect Time To Get Organized!

January’s colder weather means that most of us will be indoors staying warm. Take advantage of those blustery days to conduct an inventory of your own life documents or help your loved ones get started on locating and organizing theirs.

In times of crisis – for instance, when Mom has fallen and broken her hip – you may have critical decisions to make, sometimes on the spot. There’s no time to tear the house apart hoping to find Mom’s living will or power of attorney. Documents such as these should be gathered, reviewed with family members or caregivers, and organized as part of a comprehensive care strategy.

There’s no better time than “Get Organized” Month to get started! Follow this three-step approach to developing your own Care Strategy.

How To Formulate A Comprehensive Care Strategy:

1. Gather critical life documents. These may include any or all of the following:  birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate (if spouse is deceased), passport, divorce papers, military records, will, living will, powers of attorney for health care and finances, end of life instructions (including details on pre-paid funeral arrangements, last wishes, etc.), insurance policies, and bank/safety deposit box information.

2. Review all documents with designated family members or caregivers. Set aside a time to go over each document, clear up any misconceptions, and make sure your wishes – or those of your loved one – are known and understood.

3. Designate a safe storage location. Once your life documents are gathered and organized, be sure to store them in a safe, secure location. A locking file cabinet will work, but for extra protection, purchase a fire safe. Make copies of all documents for your designated representative. And for extra security, consider having all documents scanned and transferred onto a thumb drive that can be stored off-site.

Where To Turn For Help

Although creating a Care Strategy is vitally important, it can become a daunting task, especially if your loved one is showing signs of memory loss. They may not know or remember if they have the documents you’re looking for – or they may have inadvertently discarded them, requiring you to track down providers, attorneys, bank accounts, etc.  If you need assistance in creating a Care Strategy for yourself or for your loved ones, contact Senior Helpers at 888-787-8076. We offer services that range from companion care and light housekeeping to advanced Alzheimer’s/dementia care.

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