What’s hidden under the floorboards, or in the attic? Does dad keep a list of passwords for his online banking, or are they all in his head? Mom might be eligible for VA benefits, but where is the discharge paperwork? What information do caregivers need to have on hand to assist family members?
Faith Parker is a Hebrew Health Care Volunteer and 25-year active Auxiliary member, and recently she attended an Aging Care Academy® seminar. Faith’s family has found themselves in a position of caring for elder family members or friends of family, near and far. Faith has been using resources we gave her and compiled a list of all the information caregivers may need some day. With her permission we share it, and encourage you to share it with your friends and family.
Full legal name and residence
Birth date and place, birth certificate
Social Security and Medicare numbers
Employer(s) and dates of employment
Education and military records
Sources of income and assets; investment income (stock, bonds, property
Insurance policies, bank accounts, deeds, investments, and other valuables
Most recent income tax return
Money owed, to whom, and when payments are due
Credit card account names and numbers
Safe deposit key and information
Will, beneficiary information
Durable power of attorney
Living will and/or durable power of attorney for health care
Where cash or other valuables might be kept in the home
latest blood work
medications including over the counter, time of day, dosage and illness
allergies including to any medications
names and numbers of all physicians
long term health policy info
all other medical ins policy numbers and contact information
Passwords for internet programs, etc.
Neighbors phone number
Where apt and car keys are located
Veterans status, numbers and paperwork
Pets – pet care/vet
Names and contact info for important family members
While gathering this information may seem like a full-time job, doing it in advance of an emergency is always easier than in crisis mode. If the elder can gather it and put it in a safe place, that is even better. Much of this list, and the resources Faith compiled them from, were provided by the National Institute on Aging. They have some great resources, including the a booklet called “So Far Away,” an “Advance Care Planning” sheet, and “Getting Your Affairs in Order” AgePage (visit www.nia.nih.gov/health/topics/legal-planning for these and other free resources). There is also a superb “Emergency Preparedness, For Seniors, By Seniors” booklet from the Red Cross (www.redcross.org ). One of the best resources to keep it all in one place is a book by local Connecticut author Lynn McPhelimy called In the Checklist of Life. When you read the reviews online, you will agree it sounds like a necessity for every family.
Thank you Faith for sharing your compiled list. And thanks to the National Institutes on Aging and the Red Cross for providing such valuable information to us all – for free! For more information on caregiver seminars, visit www.agingcareacademy.org.