Record keeping

Posted by imallears @imallears, Sep 7 8:42am

Hello all,

I started this discussion under Aging Well because I wanted to let you know what I have been doing for years to remember important events.
My Dad used to keep a notebook of important events so he wouldn’t forget when and where things occurred. I started a notebook before smartphones came on the scene and still use it to this day.

In my notebook I have things listed under Car, Medical/Dental, House and Misc. So I know when my bathroom renovation was done or when I had the carpet replaced in my bedroom or when I had cataract surgery or the pneumonia shot or had a procedure ,or the date I got a new car and the color of the paint that I chose for the bedroom and how long ago etc. You get the idea. Mine is arranged by year
and I started this notebook again when we moved into our new home in 2005. I will undoubted start a new one when we move again.

I don’t journal every little thing and the notebook is not overwhelming or bulky. This makes me a good historian medically wise. On my phone I keep the routine information necessary to fill out any medical questions. We’ve lived a long time, done so many things, had so many things happen, who could possibly remember all of it?

Just as an aside…I have a 5 year diary my dad wrote back in the 1930s when he was single and living and working in NY. He jotted a few lines in it on a daily basis. What a precious piece of history. We figured he stopped writing when he met my mom and got too busy. My son now has it for safe keeping.

Regards to all from FL Mary

Hi Mary @imallears, I think record keeping is really important if you are young or old but probably more important for us older generation. I was never very good at it when I was younger but after being married and having moved multiple times, records became much more important for me. I used to use the manila folders and lots of paper clips to hold documents together but long gone are those days with the advent of computers. I was fortunate enough to have used personal computers in the early days when they first came out as part of my job. As storage devices became smaller and cheaper and new technology evolved I was able to move from paper to storing scanned or PDF versions of all of my documents on my computer. I have folders on my computer for our medical, the house, the car, purchases, insurance, etc. I get most of my bills electronically and can save them as a PDF file on the computer. Those that I don't get electronically I can scan into my computer and save them also. Then every so often I make a backup copy on a small USB thumb drive.

I have found it nice to be able to search and find a bill of sale or when I have something fixed when I needed it. You may not ever really need it but it's certainly better to have it and be able to find it than to not have it.

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@johnbishop
Hi,

I agree with you on the record keeping and do keep some things on my desktop but there is something immensely satisfying to me about handwritten jots in a journal. I feel the same way about books. Although I have been reading ebooks from our library I think, when the pandemic is truly gone, I will go back to the book shelves in our local library. I love to carry a book around and like the feel of turning pages …something tangible I guess. I never wanted a Kindle. I grew up carrying a book to read all over the place and many of my elective courses in college were English lit. I had an hour and a half travel each way on buses in NY so was able to get a lot of necessary homework and reading done. The same thing with appointments. While the dates are on my phone I still circle the dates on a paper calendar.

I do love and embrace most everything technology wise, though and enjoy fixing problems…most times anyway. I have one shelf of folders in my file cabinet and receive most bills electronically, some of which I save. I may take the time to scan them one day. All my photos are on desktop which I update and transfer to a dedicated usb when I think of it. I have a shredder and don’t like to keep the small stuff around like some people do. I have friends who are younger than me that don’t even have smartphones which I find kind of amazing and who get paper bills that are paid via mail.

Going off topic here so I guess I have one foot in both worlds. I really don’t like a lot of paper around except for my beloved journal and I ain’t never giving that up lol. But yeah, we really need to be as good as we can be remembering things when it comes to our health.

Going forward….FL Mary

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@imallears @johnbishop I found when I moved up here, that having paper copies of medical records were very important to my new specialists. As we talked, I could pull out reports and results, rather than them searching in a database, or waited for records to arrive from the last location.
Likewise, having records of major purchases, insurance, etc. is important. I am more in the old-fashioned world, but my husband embraces technology, so I guess we are a good pair. And we have done pictures of our house, and major things here, in case of fire and evacuation.

Like John, and Mary's dad, my dad kept a daily journal with weather report, phone calls made, important happenings. He jotted down who called him in later years, and his contacts with high school, college, Navy friends and former co-workers. He kept his work journals separate due to their nature. He documented my mother's decline into Alzheimers and dementia. At age 96 when he passed, he was still jotting notes everyday.
Ginger

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@gingerw

@imallears @johnbishop I found when I moved up here, that having paper copies of medical records were very important to my new specialists. As we talked, I could pull out reports and results, rather than them searching in a database, or waited for records to arrive from the last location.
Likewise, having records of major purchases, insurance, etc. is important. I am more in the old-fashioned world, but my husband embraces technology, so I guess we are a good pair. And we have done pictures of our house, and major things here, in case of fire and evacuation.

Like John, and Mary's dad, my dad kept a daily journal with weather report, phone calls made, important happenings. He jotted down who called him in later years, and his contacts with high school, college, Navy friends and former co-workers. He kept his work journals separate due to their nature. He documented my mother's decline into Alzheimers and dementia. At age 96 when he passed, he was still jotting notes everyday.
Ginger

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@gingerw Your dad was very faithful about his journaling, Ginger. You come by it naturally! Did you save his journals after he died for family history?

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@hopeful33250

@gingerw Your dad was very faithful about his journaling, Ginger. You come by it naturally! Did you save his journals after he died for family history?

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@hopeful33250 When he had asked me what I wanted, there were three things. His journals, his old Remington typewriter that I learned to type on, and his toolbox. He told me his journals were "nothing"; I think my sister might have them but will not let me even look at them. The typewriter he had given to a girlfriend but he never got it back. The toolbox he left to his grandson, who didn't want it; no clue where that is now. He did gift me a folding machete, an Army folding camp shovel, and a picnic blanket. My own journals, I have.
Ginger

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My mother (an avid reader) loved to journal. She typically used a day calendar type, easy to carry, not a lot of space. so she often had to summarize. It is good to reflect on the day and summarize one important thing. It may be a sunset, a conversation with old friend, medical appointment, grandchild's birthday.

What went well uring the day. What did you struggle with?

In the end I often saw how my mother expressed great hope and love in her outlook in life. Sure we all have struggles, but expressing gratitude for the blessings that we receive is more important.

There are two ways to look at the day:
“Some people find fault as if there is a reward for it.” –Zig Ziglar
Or
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” — Zig Ziglar

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My parents also had a separate medical journal in a regular notebook: It contained observations of their changing health. How they felt, new aches/pains, temp, etc., new food that disagreed with them; basically anything that was related to their health.
It also contained the summary of the details/points of their visits with doctors.

As they aged, they began asking the doctors if they could record their conversations, initially on microcassettes, later on smart phone.

They reviewed the tape/recording on the way home to update their journal. They commented that they often missed some instructions and were glad they had the recording.

The doctor had seen them often refer to the journal to answer his questions. He knew that, though not perfect, it was more accurate than total memory recall. They explained what the journal contained, including a summary of their consults. They also pointed out that having a recording of a consultation would quickly resolve their difference of opinion on what the doctor said. They at times found that they were both wrong about what the doctor said and were glad that they could get it right. It solved many a disagreement and repeat calls for clarification. With this background very few doctors objected to them recording the consultation, especially as they aged.

Their compliance with the prescribed treatment was greatly enhanced. They didn’t have to rely on their (at times spotty) memory. They are, after all, a people’s person. Listening to a human voice with all its concern and inflection is much more convincing than bland written directions. The written medical journal complimented their recorded conversations.

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