From our family to yours:
Outtakes coming soon!
My friend asked me a couple years ago to recreate an organizer she had found online. After my grandma had been home for a few months after a 9 month series of hospitalizations and rehabilitation stints in skilled nursing facilities, I learned a few things. I couldn’t keep it all in my head, and there was nothing out there in the stores that I could buy that followed my train of thought, so I made her daily organizer sheets so we could both be on top of our game.
Other features of her daily organizer sheets include:
Tracking Mood, Emotions (and Memories)
After spending a bit of time with my grandma and having some hindsight, I believe she is in the moderate stages of Alzheimer’s (she has a family history, but has not been diagnosed). This isn’t something we talk about in depth, although she admits regularly her memory is failing her. After stage 5, people begin to have severe emotional and behavioral changes. I want to be prepared for this, so I am tracking her mood. If she doesn’t fill it out, I always ask her.
I also want her to take a moment and appreciate the things, people, and experiences that give her joy. So this box makes her pause and
think about something that made her happy that day. It also helps me get to know my grandma and what she likes, so we can keep doing the things that make her happy. If she doesn’t fill it out, I always ask her.
I originally had a box that said “Today I thought about…” and I was interested to see if she had any memories that stood out to her throughout the day or what was on her mind, but she never filled this box out, so I took it off.
Don’t Forget box
If something special is going to happen the next day (or a few days in advance), I write it in this box. This box usually lists things like church functions, visitors that day, and important dates like birthdays and anniversaries.
We didn’t have a to-do list on the daily sheet at first. I threw it in there to fill some space after I realized she wasn’t getting as much mail and as many phone calls as I made space for. I have found it helpful to write things she needs to do the next day in this space, and I sometimes write down for her to call and check on so-and-so.
These daily sheets have been very helpful. It gives us data on her ostomy, mood, and diet, and it serves as a daily journal. It also gives us something to talk about at night. I glance at the daily sheets and if I have any questions about anything on there, we talk about them. On the back of the sheets, I write down the time I was there, what we did, and if we made any major discussions or talked about something important. Using the sheets also helps me stay organized, giving me reminders of things I need to take care of and helping me keep track of her health.
At first my grandma kind of scoffed at the daily sheets. I may be projecting my feelings on her, but I thought she might get the impression I was trying to micromanage her life. I simply explained to her that I am charged with helping her manage her affairs and take care of her health, and so we have to talk about things that come up and track what is going on. Now, she loves them and if she is about to run out, she is constantly reminding me to print her more.
You can check out the different versions of her daily organizer sheets and how it has changed over time below.
Back when my grandma was in rehabilitation at a nursing facility before she settled at home for good this time, I made a