The best way to prevent some unnecessary stress if there is an emergency with one of your parents is to have important information available at your fingertips.
I get it. It can be really hard to get motivated to get organized for the (possible) future. It can feel like too much at times just dealing with what is right in front of you. At the same time, I have heard adult sons and daughters say too many times that they wish they had gathered and organized important information.
If there is an emergency, the last thing you need is to be scrambling around looking for documents or contact information, or trying to piece things together on your own without your parent/s there to point you in the right direction.
To reduce the amount of time it takes, you can simply fill out this checklist with your parent/s. You won’t regret the time you took to do this. There is often a sense of relief that comes when it is completed. It is like a safety net, especially when the starting point is not having a clue about these details.
Caregiver organization checklist
Emergency contact information
- Emergency phone numbers for your area (e.g. 9-1-1)
- Names and phone numbers of your parent/s health care providers (be sure to include both daytime and after hours contact information if applicable)
Other contact information
- Family and friends
- Those providing service (gardeners, dog walkers, etc.)
- Landlord or tenant(s)
- Lawyers, financial planners, or accountants
- Birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport, proof of citizenship, health card, social insurance number, health insurance information, etc.
Bank account information
- Bank accounts, mortgages, credit cards, lines of credit, loans, etc.
- RRSPs, pension plans, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc.
- Wills, Power of Attorney documents, Advance Care Plans, and any documents pertaining to pre-planned funeral arrangements
Key asset and income information
- Details of vehicle ownership, property ownership, income sources, most recent tax returns, insurance policies, and safe deposit boxes
- Mailbox keys (plus number of mailbox), house keys, car keys, safe deposit box keys, etc.
Utilities and other account numbers
- Account information and/or computer and account passwords for hydro, gas, water, cable, phone, etc.
Health and medical information
- Medication(s) and dosage(s) (be sure to include both prescription and over-the-counter medication(s)), health condition(s), allergies (food, medication, or medical supplies), health history, and current health services or treatments (i.e. home care, rehabilitation, etc.)
You may want to create this emergency checklist for your own family/household as well as working with your parent/s to create one. There is no time like the present to plan for the future!
Have you already gathered this information and are organized for a potential emergency in the future? How does that feel?