Thursday, May 14, 2009

Information Is Good Care

During the next few weeks, we're going to discuss gathering the information that will help you during your caregiving journey. I've heard the saying "Information is Power", but in caregiving, "Information is Good Care". Having the right information at the right time is important in any aspect of life, but in caregiving that information becomes your bedrock. And you have an advantage. I know--and I'm sharing with you--the types of information you're going to need in advance. Even if you're at the beginning of the caregiving journey, you already have some idea of what you'll need. As a caregiver to your parent, at some point, you will need to know and be able to communicate:
  • Your parent's physical status--health, abilities, mental acuity
  • Where your parent's household, medical and financial records are filed or stored
  • Who will be helping with your parent's care--family, friends, professionals
  • Information about your parent's house
  • Personal financial resources available for care--your parent's, yours, your family's
  • Housing options for your parent
  • Legal issues that will guide you handling your parent's affairs
  • Insurance issues surrounding your parent's care
  • Your parent's spiritual needs
  • Your parent's wishes about their care, end-of-life decisions, living arrangements

In the long run, especially if your parent does not live with you, caregiving may be less about personal, physical, active care tasks but more often a series of information gathering expeditions and communicating decisions, managing resources, taking copious notes, and organizing others to provide actual care.

When you accept the job of caring for a parent, you do just that. You accept another job--at least part-time, and full-time if your parent has substantial needs and lives with you.

A lot of papers, e-mails, telephone calls, texts, websites, books, articles, information will be coming your way. Start thinking about how you might organize it so you can refer to it later.

Start now by thinking about the list of types of information listed above that you'll probably need for your parent. In each of those areas, what information about your parent do you already know? How much detail do you have? Do you need more?

What don't you know? In what areas do you feel a need for some serious information gathering? Can you suggest to the rest of us any areas that are particularly pressing?

Write a comment, send me an e-mail.

In the next few weeks, we'll start working through these areas and talk about what you're looking for and how to find it.

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