As we age, it is natural that medical events occur or will over time. You know the type – sinus surgery, broken wrist, tennis elbow or recurring bladder infection. The medical events that affect us all and especially our senior loved ones should be recorded along with pertinent medical information such as blood type.
There are a variety of tidbits of medical and personal information that it would be helpful to have recorded somewhere especially for your senior loved ones if they begin to be unable to recall this critical information.
It will be important to you as a caregiver to have a baseline of information that may be needed for appropriate medical treatment in the event of an emergency.
Personal Medical Information to Record
- Allergy list – including medications, foods, or other allergens such as ragweed
- Medication list – including names, dosages and times taken
- Health Insurance information – including any supplemental policies: company name, senior’s name as it appears on the card or policy, contact information. Long term care insurance policy information.
- Contact information for healthcare providers such as doctors, dentist, pharmacy and eye doctor
- Advance directives – including where are copies kept, who is power of attorney or proxy
- Medical diagnosis history – list diagnosis such as diabetes type 2, hypertension, cancer of the colon, etc. Include dates of occurrence such as bypass surgery in 2005 or stroke in 2010
- Blood type
- Health history – listing any medical procedures, such as colonoscopy in 2009, cardiac stents 2000, pacemaker 2007, gallbladder removed 1999
- Immunization record – what was given and when such as pneumococcal vaccine, flu vaccine, shingles vaccine, hepatitis B series, tetanus, etc.
- Height and usual body weight
- Physical activity level and any immobility issues
- List any adaptive devices used such as walks with a cane, uses bedside commode at night
- History of falls – be sure to include dates and injuries sustained
- Medical readings logs such as blood pressure or blood sugar numbers
- Any recent lab results or radiology reports if available with dates
- Results of any preventive health screenings such as mammography, prostate, bone density, etc and dates when they were completed
- Life insurance information and funeral preparation plan including name, address and contact information
- Organ donor information / wishes
This may seem like an overwhelming amount of information to gather, but if you begin slowly getting your hands on this information now, when you really need it in an emergency you will be able to breathe a sigh of relief.
One you assemble it all, you have to decide how to store it so it’s available when it’s needed. While it can be kept on paper in a folder, if stored electronically, it can travel with your senior loved one in one of many medical care history bracelets, pendants or keychains available. It could then also be provided to trusted family members or others who can provide it to healthcare providers if needed. There are a number of apps and cloud storage applications available and in development; if using one of those, security of the information should be closely scrutinized.
As the caregiver of a senior loved one, this information is very important to know but you will probably not know all of it, which is why now is a good time to start pulling it together when your senior can help fill you in!