This post is a review of Jolene Philo’s The Caregiver’s Note Book: An Organizational Tool and Support to Help you Care for Others. I received a complimentary review copy, but I was already sold on this tool before I was offered it. The opinion expressed in this review is fully my own, and the link included to purchase the book is my affiliate link through Amazon.ca. If you choose to purchase through this link, I receive a small commission, but never at an additional cost to you. I thank you for supporting this site in this way.
I learned early on when my son was born that I had best get organized because this would be a life filled with managing appointments, papers and notes.
- In the beginning, there was chaos
- An all-in-one planner and record-keeper to the rescue
- What’s in The Caregiver’s Notebook
- Some of my favorite sections of The Caregiver’s Notebook
- Who can use The Caregiver’s Notebook
- How to use The Caregiver’s Notebook
- Bring peace into your life
- A Giveaway!
- About the author
In the beginning, there was chaos
At first, I scribbled thoughts and questions anywhere I could. At the hospital, I had a pregnancy planner and I used up every little corner of space left in there to record feedings, diaper changes, and weight gain.
Once we were discharged, I used a plain, lined notebook to record the details of our medical and therapeutic appointments. This was also the place I jotted down questions. Furthermore, I had created a folder with lined pages to continue recording feedings and weight gain at home.
Eventually, there were too many reports and notes to keep track of. I started a binder filing system. But, the binder is explosive. It includes every detail I’ve kept track of since my son’s birth, and it’s categorized by age. All of his medical and therapeutic reports are kept safely in there. I had to start a second and third binder to keep track of his equipment and funding.
My telephone book contains our medical contacts (mixed right in with family and friends).
Then, I have yearly pocket calendars. They hold all of the appointments since day one. I also recorded anything odd with my son’s health in there, even when I wondered if it was pertinent at all.
As technology became more prevalent, I started recording appointments on an online calendar. One day, I even did the crazy thing of retroactively adding each and every appointment I had recorded in the pocket calendars into my “in-the-cloud” calendar – in case I ever lost those.
Clearly, there are too many systems going on for one child who has only been on the earth 7 years.
Clearly, I can’t carry all of these pieces with me.
Clearly, this is just too much to manage.
An all-in-one planner and record-keeper to the rescue
When I first heard of Jolene Philo’s The Caregiver’s Note Book: An Organizational Tool and Support to Help you Care for Others, I knew this was a tool I needed to get my hands on. (In case you didn’t already figure out, I have a thing for planning, and anything organization-related makes me giddy!)
This book is a planner and record-keeper in one. The second it was in my hands, I felt like each of my systems had come together in one hand-held, easy-to-transport book, and I could instantly feel my breathing slow.
Among the many things that parents of children with special needs require to take care of, keeping track of medical, therapeutic and funding records tops them. You want to keep all of these reports and documents, but you don’t quite know how to get them out of that heap you’ve created in the corner of your bedroom.
What’s in The Caregiver’s Notebook
The notebook contains the following sections packed with easy-to-use forms:
- Emergency information
- Calendar: 3 year, blank calendar ready for you to customize
- Medical information:
- Insurance information
- Legal documents
- Routines and schedules
And it offers special features, including several to meet the practical and spiritual needs of caregivers:
- Resource list
- Bible reading plan
- 30-day prayer guides
- Excerpts for caregiving devotionals
- Inspirational verses and quotes
- How-to instructions at the beginning of each section
- Stress-relieving tips
- Spiral bound spine so the notebook lies flat
- Pocket page in the back for business cards and papers
Some of my favorite sections of The Caregiver’s Notebook
To get an inside peek at the book, I highly suggest visiting Jolene’s Caregiver’s Notebook Vlog Series where she shares each section of this book in detail (and you also get to “meet” the lovely author herself!)
Who can use The Caregiver’s Notebook
The Caregiver’s Notebook was designed for a wide variety of caregiving situations, such as:
- adult children caring for aging parents
- spouses caring for husbands or wives
- parents caring for babies, toddlers, young children, and teens with special needs
- parents caring for adult children with special needs
- parents caring for typical babies from birth through age 3
- senior citizens in good health who want to have their affairs in order for whoever will care for them in case of an accident or sudden illness
How to use The Caregiver’s Notebook
Jolene states this about her book: “Not every caregiver will use every section of the book. It’s designed for picking, choosing, and adapting the contents so you can be a knowledgeable advocate for your loved one. And in some cases, so your child can become a knowledgeable self-advocate in adulthood.”
I am presently using this tool as the main book for all of our updated records regarding our son. Larger documents are still being stored in binders. However, I no longer have to worry about contacts being in a separate book on the kitchen counter, or medical information somewhere in his diaper bag. All of the paperwork has now been reduced to two main areas: The Caregiver’s Notebook and the filing system (which are the binders).
Bring peace into your life
If there is one thing this supportive tool will bring to you it’s peace of mind. And, that will come to you in different phases as you work through this book:
- Due to its inviting nature, The Caregiver’s Notebook will force you to go through that overwhelming pile of medical documents, and finally put an end to the chaos. When I sat with my stack of documents, I realized that I was holding on to some outdated information that I could easily streamline into the planner (or into recycling – we don’t need to keep every little bit of information about our loved one).
- Due to its easy-to-use system, you will want to keep the book updated as soon as there is a change in your child’s life.
- Due to its pleasant design, you will find that planning and organizing all of the serious parts of your child’s life to be quite motivational.
- Due to the inspiring messages sprinkled throughout the book, you will reach for this book in a moment of despair and instantly feel connected – not only to God, but to other caregivers going through similar difficulties.
I have yet to find an all-in-one system for my son with special needs that bring me such joy to open and use as The Caregiver’s Notebook. You will not be disappointed.
Author Jolene Philo is graciously offering one FREE copy of The Caregiver’s Notebook to one lucky winner here on the blog. Simply leave a reply to this question in the comment section below: How do you foresee this tool changing your life? If you are not a parent of a loved-one with a disability but would like to win this to pass this along to someone you know who would benefit from it, simply state who you want to win this book for. L
eave a comment by Sunday, December 21st, 2014 11:59 EST to be entered to win. A winner will be selected by random generator and will be announced on Monday, December 22nd, 2014. Open to US and Canadian residents only. Comments closed.
Winner is comment #7! Congratulations Krista! Please send me an email at email@example.com with your full address and the book will be on its way to you. Enjoy!
Jolene Philo is daughter of a disabled father, and she parented a child with special needs. She’s a former educator with 25 years of public school experience. Her books related to special needs include the Different Dream series and The Caregiver’s Notebook. Her blog,www.DifferentDream.com, offers practical resources and spiritual encouragement for caregivers. She also a guest blogger for Not Alone at www.specialneedsparenting.net and Friendship Circle of Michigan at www.friendshipcircle.org. Jolene speaks frequently at special needs and foster care conferences around the country and conducts special needs ministry training workshops for churches. She and and her husband Hiram live in Boone. They are parents of two married children and grandparents to one adorable toddler, with two more babies on the way. You can connect with Jolene on Facebook (@A Different Dream for My Child), (Twitter( @jolenephilo),
Pinterest (JolenePhilo), LinkedIn ( Jolene Philo), and at her websites,www.DifferentDream.com and www.JolenePhilo.com.