MUNCY - Senior living can offer comfortable lifestyles if one can keep everything organized according to Al Seidel, Community Relations Director with Elmcroft Senior Living, and who spoke to several seniors at the Meck Senior Center last week.
"Health documents are some of the most important records to organize when you are a family caregiver for a senior loved one," he said.
As seniors grow older, they tend to see the doctor more often and sometimes health care can become a complex issue. There are more papers to file, more forms to keep track of, medicare statements to file and a variety of contact information to maintain.
BARB BARRETT/The Luminary
Al Seidel from Elmcroft Senior Living spoke at the Meck Senior Center last week on how to organize and maintain health records and information.
"It is crucial to keep this information up to date," Seidel told everyone. "It could save your life in case of an emergency."
Seidel gave some additional handouts and tips on how to organize medical information faster and easier. "First of all, gather everything in one spot," he suggested. Documents should not be scattered and should include the following: Doctors and specialists contact information; health history of past surgeries, diagnoses, allergies, lab tests, screenings and x-rays; medications with copies of prescriptions, dosages and dispensing instructions; medicare identification cards and numbers; insurance policies; and legal documents.
The second step he recommended was to create a medical planner to store the files. "A three ring binder with dividers and pockets works well," he said. "Once you have the planner together, review it with family members and caregivers and keep it updated."
It is also important to keep everything in a safe and secure place for easier access, preferably a locked file. Medical identity theft is on the rise according to Seidel and reminded everyone not to give out any personal information. When completing forms, only use the last 4 digits of your social security number in the space.
Review the medical forms monthly for any inadequacies and keep a master list. "Knowing where to locate health documents can help reduce any stress," he added especially when relocating to another facility or an assisted living community.
After his discussion, Seidel handed out play money so the seniors could bid on some surprise gift bags he brought along. He comes to the Meck Senior Center for health talks about twice a month.