Why You Need a Care Notebook

Written by 
Updated November 28, 2023
older woman in a yellow shirt and glasses sitting in a chair while writing
Key Takeaways

Care notebooks can help track key details, including medical and emergency contact information, daily care log entries, and personal indicators including favorite activities, physical abilities, and overall feelings of wellness. This simple tool can ensure you feel your best and give your loved ones and medical providers the information they need to provide care.

Quality care isn’t just safe care. It’s care that’s focused on you – your preferences, values, and aspirations. It’s what we call person-centered care. To help family members and professional caregivers better understand your personal needs, preferences, and daily rhythm, a care notebook can serve as a guide to tailor care to you. It will help you and your care circle plan and track care so that you feel your best mentally and physically.

What is a care notebook?

Creating a care notebook or binder helps to ensure that you – and your caregivers – know what to expect and can help establish routines. A care notebook can also be a lifesaver in an emergency, or it can help decrease stress during a crisis. This notebook or binder should be shared with new caregivers, brightly colored, and kept in a place that is easy to locate and access.

What should I write in my care notebook?

There’s no one right way to arrange your notebook. Most importantly, it should feel organized and relevant to your specific needs. Here are some useful sections to consider when creating a care notebook:

1. Emergency contact information

  • A fact sheet with your emergency contacts

  • A list of your family members, their roles, and how they can assist in an emergency

  • A contact list of backup caregivers

  • A list of your medical providers and preferred hospital

  • If you need a translator, provide that information

  • If you have pets, list who will care for the pet in an emergency

2. Medical information

  • A list of medications you currently take and include a chart with dosages, routes, and schedules

  • A list of your diagnosed conditions

  • A list of any medical equipment that you need (e.g., a walker, oxygen, CPAP machine, etc.) and use instructions

3. Get to know me!

  • A list of preferred activities you enjoy

  • A list of activities you do NOT enjoy

  • A list of your physical abilities so you can be an active participant in your care to maintain your independence

  • Provide key changes when you are not feeling well and your symptoms if you are sick or in pain

  • If you have pets, what daily care is needed

4. Daily care log

Create a daily log, especially if more than one caregiver is supporting you. This log can be very helpful for family and doctors. It might include:

  • An example of an average day for you

  • A mood log

  • Food and fluid intake

  • Daily bladder and bowel habits

  • Times that medication was taken

Final Thoughts

Keeping a care notebook helps ensure you feel your best mentally and physically. By tracking the discussed elements, you can ensure your doctor and family members are armed with the information they need to tailor your care.

Find care that gets to know you

Make sure your care notebook is in good hands with care that’s person-centered. Search the CareScout Quality Network to find a provider who’s right for you. 

Expert reviewed by

Kelly Briggs

Kelly Briggs, M.A., LSW, CCM

Kelly is a Licensed Social Worker and Board-Certified Case Manager with a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a certificate in trauma studies. She is passionate about helping aging adults and their caregivers understand options, feel empowered in their decision making, ...

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Written by

Linda Watts

Linda Watts

Linda Watts leads content and brand voice for CareScout. She has 20+ years experience building marketing content, teams, and infrastructure for healthcare organizations, including hospitals, payers, and long-term care providers. Her goal is to help care seekers understand their options, find the ...

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