Now that we started the process of helping downsize our parents, we will need to help them with paper management. This task can be difficult for a parent to manage so here are tips to help your parent with paper management.
Tips to help your parents with paper management
Create an in bin system for mail that comes into the home. If your parent has issues keeping track of the mail coming into the home, create an area that will hold mail. You can make it easy or as complicated as needed. Be sure to ask your parent, what do they do when they pick up the mail? Do they place it on a chair? Do they place it next to the door with the other papers? Do they place it in their office? Whatever process they use, making a new system that is close to that process will help them apply the new steps easily.
Make a bill paying area. Having all the items they would need in a bill paying area will help them do the bills quickly and easily. Organizing the pens, papers, checks, etc... will help remind them of what they need to do. Setting up auto payments for credit cards, auto, mortgage, works great and they don't have to do a thing about it. Contact their banks to see what they offer to make your parent's life easier. Here's a checklist I created to help you set up a bill paying station for your parent. Feel Free to click on the image to visit the post.
Make filing papers an easy process. Subdividing and making a filing system too detailed may be an issue for your parent. So, try having them put all their bills in one folder that says, "paid bills". Then, have another folder that says, "charitable contributions". And, one that says, "Medical". Making the folders contained and with a lid works great too. It can also be portable if you want. Like the ones below from Amazon. (affiliate links)
Create an important documents filing system. Make a system that will hold all their important documents. Here is a list of important documents to help you. Storing these documents in a fireproof safe at home or in a safe-deposit box at the bank works great. Note: if you use a safe deposit box, make sure you (as the child) have your signature on file at the bank allowing access to your parent's account. If you are not a signer on the safe deposit account, and your parent passes, you will not have access to any papers in the safe deposit box. Read more about what happens, here. Click on the image below to visit this image's post.
Setting up an effective paper management system for your parents can be frustrating but wouldn't you want to be safe than sorry. Here are tips to work with your parent.
- Speak calmly with your parent about setting up a new system. No judgment about how they have managed their bills. Reach out and say you are willing to help.
- Do the steps above over time. Making it a smooth process works best for them. Keep in mind this may not be their most favorite area to work in. So go at their pace.
- There may be documents in various parts of the home. Make a temporary file so as you gather the paperwork, you will have a place to store them until you find them all.
I hope this helps keep your parent's papers organized. Have you organized your parents documents? Do you have any tips to share? Or any questions? Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
Please note these are affiliate links through Amazon, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn affiliate fees if you decide to make a purchase.