Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Reviving Your Resolutions: The Caregiver's Notebook

 Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life;
    don’t for a minute lose sight of them.
They’ll keep your soul alive and well,
    they’ll keep you fit and attractive.
You’ll travel safely,
    you’ll neither tire nor trip.
You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry,
    you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep.
No need to panic over alarms or surprises,
    or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner,
Because God will be right there with you;
    he’ll keep you safe and sound.
Proverbs 3:21-26, MSG

Congratulations!  You made it through the first month of the new year.  

So, how are you doing with those resolutions you made when the calendar flipped over?  Aside from the predictable desires to get fit and lose weight, other popular goals focus on saving money, getting organized, and lowering stress.

If you are anything like the average person, you may have started out the year strong, but found it difficult to stay on task.  Thankfully, there is a tool for parents like us that can help get back on track with many of these aspirations -- The Caregiver's Notebook by Jolene Philo.

As the author of Proverbs 3 states, wisdom and understanding are some of our most worthy pursuits, to be closely guarded, because in seeking after them, all else falls into place.  Wisdom is applied knowledge. Understanding is gained through careful study, listening, and mental processing of information.

With all of the information that comes flying at caregivers like us, how in the world are we supposed to organize and digest it so as to gain wisdom?

The key is in keeping everything you need in one place.  The thing I love about this book is that it does exactly that.  Yes, there are different sections of the book that allow you to keep a calendar, write down emergency contacts, and detail insurance information.  But one thing that my sister does as caregiver for my elderly mom, is keep detailed notes at every doctor's visit.  THAT has its own complete section in this book!  There is also an area to list each medication, dosing instructions, and the purpose of the drug.  There are spaces to detail any adverse reactions or side effects to those medications, as well as number of refills and the prescribing doctor.  A Medical Information section gives the caregiver plenty of space to list every diagnosis, when it was given, and by whom it was given.  Allergies, dental care, vision, tests, and procedures can all be documented in this section as well.  And at the end of the book, there are even 2 pockets to slip receipts, prescriptions or discharge instructions.

While all of this is WONDERFUL, and necessary to be a less-overwhelmed, organized caregiver, the thing that makes me absolutely LOVE this tool is the fact that Jolene has 2 sections specifically dedicated to the caregiver's spiritual health.  The Bible Reading Plan helps keep the caregiver rooted in God's word, and the Prayer Guides offer directed focus for our prayers as we spend all of those hours in medical facilities waiting.

There are several other terrific features of this book that I haven't even touched on, but suffice it to say, The Caregiver's Notebook is a MUST purchase for anyone caring and advocating for a loved one in any phase of life.  For myself, all I could think of when I received Jolene's latest publication was what a blessing it was to finally have something after 14 years of parenting a child with an often critical, chronic illness that I can just grab and go.  If we are at my son's 6 month hematology visits, I have what I need.  If he is admitted to the hospital at a moment's notice, all the essential information for both him and myself is right there.  If we need to coordinate across specialty groups, the details are readily available.  If I need to be apart from him, all of his information is there for my substitute.  And when we sit down to coordinate his 504 Plan, we have all the details the school will need to make effective accommodations.
With everything conveniently and thoroughly located in this central spot, Jolene has translated her years as a caregiver, into a huge, stress-relieving blessing to me.  Face it, we parents raising kids with special needs, disabilities, and chronic illnesses need that extra measure of help, someone to map out the way for us when we are feeling so overwhelmed by the noble duty to which God has called us.  We want to be wise stewards of the precious kids in our care.  The Caregiver's Notebook is just that map.  We would all do well to revive our resolutions by picking up a copy at all major book sellers today.

PRAY:  Thank You, God that You are not a God of total chaos, but of complete order.  By the power of Your Spirit, make order out of our overwhelming circumstances.  Grant us the wisdom to use tools like this to be good stewards of the precious children You have entrusted to our care.  

Then watch to see who our winner is in the next few days!


  1. I would love this book. I've heard raving reviews and it's "right up my alley" when it comes to organization and articulating a plan. Mapping everything on my own has been pretty intese. This seems like the perfect tool.

  2. I would love to get this book cause it will teach me how to take care of others ty

  3. I would love this book! I do some much better when organized...or at least when I try to be!

  4. CONGRATULATIONS to our winner MISHA! Hope you enjoy this cool tool!