These days the majority of young adults organize and keep track of bills, files, and important documents on a computer. Seniors, however, didn’t grow up in the digital age and therefore are likely to have a considerable amount of mail and other papers building up in their homes. This can cause unnecessary clutter around the house as well as causing stress to the home owner. Getting these files in order, especially relevant medical and financial documents, can help ease the mind and reduce stress.
Getting organized can seem like an overwhelming task, specifically if you have to face it alone. Due to the sensitive nature of a lot of these documents, it is important to enlist someone you trust to give you a hand. A family member or caregiver is an ideal assistant in this situation. Our caregivers at Retire-At-Home Toronto are here to provide help and support in any way we can. Our caregivers are trustworthy and caring individuals that can be counted on for thoroughness and discretion in this type of delicate situation.
A good place to start is organizing bills and other financial documents. This allows you to more easily determine what you have, and what you owe. After going through these files, you will most likely be left with two piles: things you want to keep and things you want to discard. Be sure to shred or destroy any unwanted files that contain personal financial information. For those documents you want to keep, it is a good idea to make copies so you have a backup if something gets lost.
Organizing medical files is necessary to keep track of, and manage any existing health issues. You can keep doctor’s notes and prescriptions in a folder for later reference, or if they need to be produced for tax purposes or resolve a dispute. Having these medical documents in good order can help avoid mistakes or confusion surrounding:
- Physical exams
- Overall medical history
Photos and Letters
It is likely most seniors will have old pictures and letters that they will want to hold onto. Organizing these items by year is an effective way to sort them for easy access. Going through these items to figure out what should be kept and when they were created can be an entertaining enterprise, evoking lots of fond memories.
Sorting through old mail can be an intensive task. It is doesn’t take long for flyers, letters, and bills to pile up if you don’t have a system in place to organize and sort incoming mail. Every piece of mail should be examined to avoid throwing away bills or other essential documents. To avoid getting so much mail in the future, you can put a sign on your mailbox to indicate you do not wish to receive junk mail. Any companies you no longer deal with, but are still getting mail from, should be contacted so you can be removed from their mailing list.
One big decision you should make when undertaking the task of reorganizing files is whether or not to go digital for the future. This can really help reduce clutter and free up extra space around the house. Almost every company offers an online billing option these days. Simply contact them to discuss paperless billing. All important documents can be scanned and stored on a computer, allowing you to tuck the originals away in storage. Not everyone is comfortable with this option though, so you will need to determine if it is the right move for you.