Nov 2

How can Springwell’s Caregiver Notebook help you?

image for National Family Caregivers Month

Caregivers often juggle a wealth of information to closely manage the wellbeing of a loved one. During both the routine and the unpredictable challenges that inevitably come up, it is helpful to have that information easily accessible. Springwell designed a Caregiver’s Notebook that will help you stay organized and simplify record keeping. The notebook is available as a free, downloadable 36-page fillable .pdf that gives you a central place to record and document the important aspects of your loved one’s care.

Carly Conole, Springwell’s Caregiver Specialist shares that the notebook can feel overwhelming at first glance because it has pages for every aspect of your loved one’s life organized into five key sections. She encourages caregivers to be creative, take ideas from the notebook and make it their own.  “Review the entire notebook and remove pages that aren’t applicable to your situation. Make extra copies of pages that are very helpful to you and may need to be revised periodically. It will quickly become a valuable tool and great communication device. If you are trying to enlist more caregiving help from other family members, working on the notebook together may be a good conversation starter.”

With information all in one place close at hand, a caregiver will be prepared whenever something unpredictable happens. As a caregiver with the medical sections of the notebook completed, you will be ready to answer questions in the event of an emergency trip to the hospital. Having the information all written out in an organized way will relieve the stress of trying to remember details in an emergency.  If you go away for a day or are sick yourself, the backup caregiver will have all the information they need about medications and daily routines. If you share different aspects of caregiving with other family members, the notebook is an efficient way to keep each other up to speed on everything. Ask your relative who handles finances to complete that section of the notebook. Share with them your information about other aspects of care.

As much as possible, involve your loved one in completing the information. It will provide the opportunity for discussion and may also provide a sense of control during a time when control may seem fleeting to them. The Caregiver Notebook includes a section about End-of-Life instructions. Discussing this difficult topic before a crisis will put you in a better position to make sure you can fulfill your loved one’s wishes. The notebook recommends resources to help with the discussion.

The Caregiver Notebook is available to download here. We suggest you print the notebook and keep it in a three-ring binder with pocket folders as section dividers. The pocket folders will come in handy to store papers such as medical instructions and photocopies of important documents (keep originals separately in a safe place).