Long-Distance Caregiver Checklist: Documents to Create & Keep

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Keeping pertinent information, paperwork, and records well organized and readily available, is the key to simplifying and addressing daily tasks for your aging loved one efficiently.

According to senior care experts from aplaceformom.com, “Knowing where the official records are located as well as having copies of these important financial, legal and health documents can save you thousands of dollars and countless hours of time spent tracking down records.”

For families whose loved ones live far away, monitoring and maintaining the best possible care can be a challenge from a distance. Decision making, and addressing daily needs can become complex without quick access to a family member’s documents, doctors, or pertinent information.

We gathered a list of essential documents to create and keep nearby to ensure you always have the information you need to support your loved one in the best possible way.

Documents to Create
✔  Create a list of helpful neighbors
• Gather a list of contact information for neighbors who are willing to check in on your parent or loved one.
• Provide your emergency contact information.
• Encourage them to contact you if they notice anything out of the ordinary.

✔  Create a list of medications and supplements your loved one is takes regularly
• This list can be compiled based on conversations with your loved one and their medical professionals
• Supplements should be included in case there are known reactions with the medication your loved one takes or may take in the future
• Research medications and supplements that are commonly recommended for your loved one’s condition and ask their primary care provider about the best options.

✔   Create a list of where to find important documents in your loved one’s home
• With your loved one’s permission, inventory their home for important documents
• Ask your loved one about any places they may keep important information in case of an emergency

✔   Create a plan for emergencies and disasters
• List who to contact according to the event that may ensue
• List local authority numbers or contacts
• Write a step by step plan that can be easily followed by members of your family, friends, or support.

✔   Create a list of important valuables
• Inventory and list important valuables with your loved one
• List safe places to keep valuable items
• Help your loved one create instructions listing how personal property not disposed of by a will should be distributed

Documents to Keep Copies of
✔ Insurance card(s)
✔ Medical history or reports that includes major procedures, surgeries, allergies, current medications or supplements
✔ Durable Power of Attorney
✔ Healthcare Surrogate/POA
✔ Living Will
✔ Estate Planning Documents
✔ Birth certificate
✔ Driver's license
✔ Social Security card
✔ Marriage certificate
✔ Credit cards
✔ Mortgage records
✔ Military records
✔ Banking and Financial Records in some cases including tax returns, stocks or investments

This list will allow you to be proactive and well prepared for any questions that may arise about your loved one’s well-being. Preparing for as much as possible sets expectations for those interacting with your loved one and reduces the stress of those providing services or care.

Preparation is the key to success. The more prepared you are, the better you can enjoy peace of mind for your loved one’s long-distance care.

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