Keeping Records

Sharing pertinent information with loved ones left behind is a gift to them. The information, however, isn’t only valuable when the person dies, but equally essential if the person is sick or injured. If you're new to recording your health information, start out with the basics and build from there. It's never too late to start. And the next time you're desperately trying to remember when you had your last physical, you'll be glad you did!

Maintain a folder of all information sheets and review them regularly. Information that did not seem relevant in the beginning may become an issue later.

General Pointers

  • Communicate to loved ones where the documents are stored
  • Provide duplicate copies in case one gets misplaced
  • Assign a trustworthy person(s)to receive the information
  • Information can be stored on a computer-but remember to keep it on a backup file-computers can crash and information can be lost

There are two categories that need to be addressed:

  1. A file of pertinent non health information
  2. Health Information

These records should be maintained for yourself, as well as for the person for whom  you are caring

Non Health Information:

Personal and Legal Information:

___Social Security Number

___Medicare Number

___Medicaid Number

___Military ID Number

___Location Of House Keys

___Driver’s License Number



___Financial Adviser


Bank Account Information

___Safety Deposit Box and Key and Location

___Checking Account Number(s) and Location

___Savings Account Numbers and Location

Legal Information


___Health Care Directive

___Power of Attorney

___Deed to House and other Property

___Mortgage Papers

___Apartment Lease

___Car Title/Lease

___Tax Records and Documents

___Power of Attorney

___Living Will

___Organ Donor specification

___Birth Certificate

___Marriage Certificate

___Divorce Records

Financial Inventory explaining the following:

Income (before and after death)


Insurance Information (home, auto health, life, long term care)

Expenses and Bills that may come due

Employee benefit plans-other work related information

-IRAs, Stocks, Loans etc

Credit Card Information


Miscellaneous Information

Plan for your Pets

Information about family heirlooms- (helps family determine what should be kept or left behind

 Directions for funeral arrangements and any prepaid funeral plans

Specific funeral, shiva requests

Health Information

Your health information is scattered across many different providers and facilities – and possibly even somewhere online. Keeping complete, updated and easily accessible health records means you can play a more active role in your healthcare as well as that of family members or others in your care. Just as healthcare providers keep their records of you. The record you keep of your healthcare visits and providers gives a more complete picture of your health history.

What to include?

You don’t have to be an organization freak to keep health records. Nor do you need to spend countless hours of your time. At a minimum you can use charts or or blank pages in a journal or notebook to record the following:

-Personal Identification, including name, birth date and blood type

-Doctor visits and date of last physical (including eye, dental and other specialists)

-Dates and results of tests, procedures or health screenings

-Major illnesses or surgeries you have had and when

-List of medications you take, the dosages, and how long you’ve been taking

 them (include over the counter products and herbal medication)

-Counseling you receive

-Any information you want to include about your health-such as your exercise regimen, or lifestyle habits

Additioanl Information

-Birth Date

-Blood Type

-Any Chronic conditions

-All allergies (food and drug)

-Family History of Illnesses

-Names, phone numbers and addresses of you doctors and pharmacist

-Name and phone number of caregiver/emergency contact

If you are technologically savvy and are interested in keeping your records electronically, you have some options.  Portable devices are available that allow you to carry the information on a USB that plugs into computers with USB ports. Additionally, Internet-based services offer secure servers that you access from your computer and on which you enter your information. Some of these are free; for others you may have to pay a fee or subscription. If you do use an online service, double check that no one else will be able to access your personal information. Also, be sure you know how you can permanently and completely remove your information

Ongoing Medical Records

It is helpful to keep a running written record of symptoms, medical appointments, tests, diagnosis, hospitalizations etc. this makes answering medical history requests easier and more accurate.


Many people who are aging or have chronic conditions take many varied medications. It is important to have a written record of all medications as well as vitamin and mineral supplements and other over the counter preparations such as aspirin, advil, antihistamines etc. The list should include name of medication, dosage and reason it is taken. When the medication is taken is also important as it may provide information about whether medication regimen is being followed correctly. This list should be brought to every physician’s visit, primary care or specialist. It should also be available at time of any hospital, rehab or nursing home admission.  It is also best to purchase all medication at the same pharmacy. Pharmacists can often pick up potential medication interactions that can be brought to the attention of the prescribing physician, If there is Medicare Part D coverage, it should be checked every year to determine the best plan to meet the patients needs. Both plans and patient medications change. Plans can be checked on www.medicare,gov