Organizing Home Care for an Older Adult

This is the second post reflecting my current experiences. Thanks for indulging my use of my life as a blog subject.

Now that my mother is out of rehab, where an entire team managed her care, I have taken on that job. If you find yourself in the same situation and aren’t able to handle all the details, find a geriatric care managers, who do this for a living. You can start out by consulting the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers.

In order to keep track of all the phone calls, appointments, home visits and equipment, I started with a binder. I created one document on my computer (you could hand-write on paper, too) that lists all the procedures my mother has undergone, with the dates and names of doctors; all the people I have spoken to in person and on the phone, regarding her issues; names and phone numbers of every agency and organization that I’ve contacted; and her ID numbers. When I am away from my computer, I write notes in my planner and add them to document. If you are writing notes on paper, keep them all in the same notebook or tablet.

Because my mother has assistance at home, I created a calendar with the names of each caregiver and the shifts they work, along with the phone number of the home healthcare agency. The calendar is posted in her hallway, above a table that holds caregivers’ timesheets and my mother’s medical record.

In the kitchen, I posted a list of meal ideas so that the caregivers can offer her choices, based on foods she likes and has in the house; a list of activities she can do, a list of emergency phone numbers and her medication schedule.
Caring for an older adult is time consuming; all of these tasks (and many, many more) have kept me from fulfilling other responsibilities. Knowing who has to be where, when and for how long makes the process a little less overwhelming.

The same techniques that I’ve used to track my mother’s care could be used for anyone experiencing medical issues. Have you used any tools to help you cope with caring for someone at home?

Organized by MarcieTM: Save time and money by letting go of what you don’t need and finding room for what you value
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4 Responses to Organizing Home Care for an Older Adult

  1. Dee Locklin says:

    Hi Marcie,

    I cared for my mother in her final four years, the last nine months of which she had hospice staff visiting daily. I practiced some of the same tasks you recommend and I can truly say that keeping these details organized was most helpful in an already stressful situation.

    My husband is battling late state cancer now, and I find myself drawing on similar tactics to keep abreast of the complex details of his care. Caregiving is a labor of love, of course. But we owe it to ourselves to make it as stressfree as possible.


  2. Thanks for sharing your experience, Dee. Your comments help justify why we do what we do.

    There are so many details to keep track of when you're the caregiver; having everything in one place (and available when you need it) is essential.

    I wish you and your husband comfort and peace.

  3. mommymegan says:

    My sister-in-law is helping to care for her grandmother, who needs 24/7 care. Her mother is the main caregiver for the Grandmother and has set up a calendar of available shifts so that other adult children and adult grandchildren can help with her care. It's important to let others know how they can help because many people are afraid to ask.

  4. Thanks for adding to the conversation. What an incredible job your family is doing. You're absolutely right, people often want to help but don't know what to offer.

    Having a calendar lets everyone know that they're welcome to pitch in and help with Grandma's care. The main caregiver definitely needs a break periodically.

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