Spring is almost upon us, bringing with it the annual tradition of long spring cleaning and organization to-do lists. Usually these tasks primarily involve our homes and living spaces, but what about important documents? When it comes to turning your home upside down, shuffling around a loved one’s belongings and paperwork can make it difficult to keep everything straight, but especially for seniors, it can be imperative to have important documents in order.
The AARP recently laid out a plan for caregivers and their senior loved ones alike to keep documents organized in the event so that everyone can be optimally prepared in the face of an unexpected medical event. Here are 3 easy steps:
- Discovery. First, simply ask where important papers are kept. It may be in a file cabinet in the house, in a deposit box or with an attorney. Come up with a tidy checklist to record where everything is located. Documents to include on the list may include:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Death certificate (for deceased spouse)
- Divorce papers
- Military papers
- Driver’s license/organ donor card
- Passport/citizen papers
- Living will
- Durable power of attorney
- Health care power of attorney
- Letter of instruction – with funeral arrangements, important contact information such as insurance agent or broker
- Insurance policies (life, disability, long-term care)
- Information about safety deposit boxes (eg location, number, key)
- Review. Once you’ve identified where those important papers are located, sit down as a family to thoroughly examine all documents.
- Storage. It’s pertinent to keep important documents in a safe, accessible place such as a secure file cabinet. Copies should be made for the health care professional, and you should consider copying the files onto a thumb drive that can be stored at another location.
So with spring right around the corner, if you don't already have important paperwork in order, someday you or your loved ones will appreciate having a good organization system in place. If you or a loved one has an immediate care need or could use some additional support in the home, contact our local team. In addition to providing care, whether it's basic companionship, helping with organization, housekeeping or other household tasks, we can help.