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50+: Live Better, Longer

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Starting Your Role As Caregiver

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Getting Organized As a Caregiver continued...

If you are a high-tech type, the right type of cell phone can become your best friend by organizing information on all of your loved one's important documents and by holding multiple schedules at the same time. There are even applications for keeping track of medications, medical records, and so forth.

Open a FedEx account. It will save your life at least once.

Supply Mom with a nice stack of stamped, return-addressed envelopes to make correspondence easier. You can even make up some labels with the addresses of people to whom she writes frequently.

Get a big wall calendar. Make entries for everything and encourage your parent to consult it often.

Help with letter writing when your parent can't seem to keep up with correspondence.

Assist in making phone calls when letter writing is no longer possible.

Whenever you decide to organize or rearrange things, let your father know about the changes, get his input if possible, and be patient as he readjusts. A frequent complaint of older adults is that they can't find anything!

Set up a fax machine in your parent's home. A fax machine can be useful if prescriptions are lost (and you have copies) or when important papers need to be consulted.

"Mom hates anything electronic and would have held on to her rotary phone if the phone company hadn't objected. So getting her a fax machine seemed out of the question. But I had an extra one and set it up in her apartment, and you should have seen how pleased she was the first time a fax came through. It was my ten-year-old daughter's drawing of her with her grandma! She loved it, and even though she won't touch the machine (I change the paper and film when I go over there), she loves hearing it go off, because she knows she will have a special message from someone. Most important, she knows we are thinking of her throughout the day as we fax her scrawled messages, sometimes with just a big bunch of Xs for the kisses we send her daily."
-Lara Fein

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