By Dr. Marion Somers, Ph. D., Ask Dr. Marion

QUESTION: I'm trying to stay organized while being the primary caregiver for my 89 year-old brother, but it's a daunting task. Do you have any forms that could save me time and effort? Cecilia in Minnesota, 76

ANSWER: I put a series of valuable forms and lists into action for my clients as soon as I'm hired. These forms have taken 30 years to perfect. They include an Emergency Phone Numbers List, Daily Visit Form, Grocery Shopping List, Additional Information Form, Medication Chart, and the all-important eight-page Client Information Form.

These forms keep you grounded and help make you feel like you're getting somewhere?and you are. They also allow you to check off completed tasks to give you a sense of accomplishment. Believe me, you'll need that since there won't be many "thank yous" coming your way. Forms can also be real time savers since you don't have to rewrite/retype information that you need frequently. Try to keep all of the forms in one place.

I have the list of emergency phone numbers typed and periodically updated, then printed in large, readable font. This information is put in a plastic sleeve. A copy is put on the refrigerator to be easily taken down and brought along if a client should need to go into an ambulance or to the hospital. Another copy, also in a plastic sleeve, is placed near every phone. At the top, I always include the client's full name, complete address, and phone number. This basic information is first because sometimes when calling 911 or another service, a senior may not remember his own address or phone number.

You can find all of these forms on my website and in the Appendix of my book, "Elder Care Made Easier." I hope you make them a vital part of your caregiving challenge.

©2006 Elder Health Resources of America, Inc.