Important Documents for Family Caregivers

Posted: 6/29/2017 3:29 PM by Interim HealthCare
Often part of the job of being a family caregiver is coordinating medical care and taking care of your parent’s important paperwork. Unfortunately, organizing important documents is sometimes forgotten until an emergency occurs. When that happens, it can be difficult to navigate your parent’s medical care and handle some other important decisions. If you haven’t already done so, getting your parents important documents in order could make future caregiving duties much easier and less stressful.
Getting Organized
The first step in getting your parent’s documents organized is to find out where they actually are. Of course, sometimes that can be easier said than done since your parent may see your request as an invasion of privacy or a loss of their independence. Approach the conversation with your parent carefully and explain that you only want to make sure you can get them the help they need when the time comes. Once your parent agrees to your help, some of the documents you’ll need to gather are:
  • Birth certificate.
  • Death certificate for deceased spouse.
  • Driver’s license and/or organ donor card.
  • Military records.
  • Marriage license.
  • Divorce records.
  • Will.
  • Living will.
  • Advance directives.
  • Health care power of attorney.
  • Passport or citizenship papers.
  • Durable power of attorney.
  • Trust papers.
  • Insurance information.
  • Safety deposit box information.
  • Financial papers.
  • Social Security card.
It’s a good idea to sit down with your parent and other family members to go over these documents once they have all been gathered. You may also want to discuss any instructions your parents have pertaining to their end of life wishes, such as funeral arrangements or information about who to contact for certain issues, such as an insurance agent or financial advisor. Write down any additional information your parent provides and keep it with their documents.
What to Photocopy
The primary family caregiver, or the person who would most likely to be called upon in an emergency, should keep copies of certain documents. This way they will have the information necessary to respond appropriately to any situation that arises. The information should be kept in a file that is easily accessible. Documents that should be photocopied for quick access are:
  • Social security card.
  • Driver’s license.
  • Insurance cards or Medicare/Medicaid cards.
  • Organ donor card.
  • Power of attorney papers.
  • Living will and advance directives.
  • Contact information
It may be wise for all family caregivers to have a copy of the contact information for important people. This way the job of calling people can be split up so that one person does not shoulder all of the responsibility.
Storing the Documents
The original documents should be stored in a safe place, such as a locked filing cabinet or a fireproof safe. Make sure that family caregivers know where the documents are and how to access them.

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