Four Lists for Elderly Relatives

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Elderly relatives often get their dates, contact information, medical insurance numbers, and other important bits of information mixed up. A simple way to help them is to take all that information and type it up in your computer. You will have it saved for an easy reference for you and a fast reprint for them if they lose the first copy you give them. Not only that, you can easily adjust the size of the font based on their needs. Here are some excellent lists to maintain for them:

1. Emergency phone numbers – I typed this up for my dad years ago. Often, when an older person has to call 911, they are so nervous they can have a hard time remembering their personal information. The list I typed included his own phone number and address at the top in bold letters. I also put his medical insurance numbers there for easy access for any emergency medical personnel. I then listed my contact info, phone numbers for all his neighbors, and that of his other children and grandchildren, in the order he was most likely to call them.

2. Schedule for the week or month – You can use any word processing or spreadsheet software, you can use an actual calendar program such as Outlook, or you can use an online calendar service, such as that offered by Google. Whichever option you prefer, fill in their appointments with all the necessary information such as time, address, reason for appointment, items needed for appointment, etc. You might also want to add any of your appointments that might directly impact them. I probably wouldn’t list your whole schedule as some seniors might find that confusing and think they are supposed to go with you or that the appointment is for them, even if is is clearly marked. Once you are done, print out two copies. Give them one and keep one handy for yourself in case they call with questions. .

3. Address, phone, and birthday list – A lot of our elderly relatives are still using address books with years of corrections, erasures, and crossed out listings. As a result, they can’t always find the info they need, or read it if they find it. In addition,  the writing is probably smaller and more faded than older eyes can handle. I typed up a list in large print of all the friends and family my parents called or wrote often and they kept it by their phone. Then they had it easily available and eminently readable. I added birthdates and ages to the list as well, which helped with buying and sending cards and gifts.

4. I find that I can easily forget which pill I took  and when and I only have an occasional prescription to juggle with my vitamins. Our elderly relatives often have several different medicines along with vitamins and supplements to coordinate. A check-off list can be very helpful for both them and you. It can be as simple as a 3 column sheet with a column for the date, one for the medicine’s name, and one for the time they last took it. In that case, I would suggest writing the frequency they are supposed to take each medicine at the top of the sheet and have a separate sheet for each medicine. Another alternative is to have more columns, one for each medicine. I have prepared a couple of excel spreadsheets with simple charts. If you would like me to send them to you, just send an email to or leave your email in the comments below. I would recommend if you do the latter, that you write your email like Kaye at Sandwichink dot com. I should be able to translate that easily while it will discourage any spammers out there.

Have you come up with any lists to help your elderly relatives. You can share those with us as well in the comments below or with a quick email to .

The Wright Stuff
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