How Do I Get Organized?

Caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease (PD) means lots of medical records, medical and family contact lists as well as financial documents. In order to avoid getting overwhelmed, below are some easy tips on how to get and stay organized by creating a simple binder with four main document categories: Family, Finance, Insurance and Property.

Family documents

  • List all names and contact information for family members, close neighbors, relatives or co-workers who need to be notified in case of emergency.
  • Include important in-house locations of items such as an extra house key, electrical breaker box, water cut-off, thermostat, and alarm system.
  • For example, just reviewing, “Where is the fire extinguisher?” may bring important things to your attention, such as no fire extinguisher or working fire alarms in place!

Examples of important contacts:

  • Attorney
  • Accountant
  • Banker
  • Broker or investment counselor
  • Clergy
  • Doctors, dentists, veterinarian
  • Home and appliance service people
  • Insurance agents
  • Pharmacy
  • Utility company

Also good to include in this section

  • Copies of (updated) wills and trusts
  • Birth certificates
  • Social security card
  • Military discharge papers
  • Marriage license, divorce decree
  • Passports
  • Disability verification
  • Advanced directives to physicians
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Written instructions regarding funerals, burial or cremation, etc.

Financial documents

Make copies of the sample Financial Information Form* to regularly update information regarding:

  • Bank accounts and persons authorized to sign transactions
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Credit union accounts
  • Location of checkbooks and account records
  • Credit and debit cards, including location of payment records for the previous year
  • Investment accounts

*This form, while thorough, does not address the now common practice of online banking and bill paying. Make sure to include account numbers and passwords in your notebook, in the event family members need access in an emergency.

Insurance and property documents

Write down the location of original insurance policies, deeds, and mortgage papers in your home if they are not kept in a bank safe deposit box. If maintained at home, keep these documents in a fireproof safe.

  • Copies of insurance documents, deeds and mortgage papers, plus titles and license receipts for vehicles belong in this section.
  • Most people think to list auto and home insurance, but it’s easy to overlook paid-up life insurance policies or boat and RV policies.
  • Hutton’s Financial Information Form includes examples of how to record insurance policies, amount and dates of coverage, agent’s contact information, etc.

Insurance information checklist:

  • Life (including any accidental death policy in place at work, credit union, etc.)
  • Health
  • Homeowner
  • Automobiles, boats, recreational vehicles
  • Disability
  • Long-term careProfessional liability coverage, if applicable

Property information checklist:

  • List and locations of mortgage papers on any real estate property
  • Titles and license receipts for automobiles, boats, recreational vehicles
  • Receipts for any major property improvements
  • Receipts for any major vehicle repair/maintenance expenses.

Optional business documents:

Families who own or have a financial binder to document pertinent details such as:

  • Name and type of business
  • Location of keys
  • Structure for tax purposes (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation
  • Contact information for partners and key associates
  • Contact information for accountants, attorneys, bank officer
  • Business account numbers and name of bank officer knowledgeable about account(s)
  • Copies of documents such as tax records, employee and vendor contracts

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Caregiving content reviewed by: Susan Imke, RN, MS, Family Nurse Practitioner, Senior Health Solutions

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