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Happy Planner Caregiver Notebook Setup

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Earlier this week I posted over in the Creative Planning Expressions Group about how I setup a caregiver notebook using the Happy Planner Caregiver extension pack. This is the second time I’ve become a caregiver. The first time was for my mother and I wished I had thought of this planner setup when she was in nursing care.

This time around I’m now my father’s caregiver. It doesn’t matter if the person you are caring for is in a nursing home or not; there is still a lot of information that is given to you and questions will come up. It’s best to keep all that organized nicely in one place.

While I would hope you wouldn’t need to set a notebook up like this, should you need to, I hope this inspires you to get organized for who ever you are taking care of. Most importantly, during this caregiver time don’t forget to take care of yourself. Remember, you can’t help others if you are falling apart, physically or mentally.

Let’s talk about the cover for a minute. The cover I decided to use came in a pack of three and I chose the one that read “It’s your year”, but I flipped it around. I dug into my stash of mini discs and added some medium-toned blue discs. The last step was my most recent Cricut vinyl project. I haven’t touched my Cricut machine since January when I created my mothers DIY Keepsake Funeral Memory Board.

At first glance it wasn’t very clear what this notebook was for. That was when I found, as close as possible, removable blue Cricut vinyl. Once “caregiver” was cut out of the vinyl it was as easy as transferring it to the cover. Should I change my mind on covers at some point, I can easily remove the notebook title and make a new one for the new cover.

Inside Cover

To always make sure I’m prepared I’ve used the inside of the cover to put a variety of post-it notes down. I really should have stock in post-it notes! I’ve got all sizes ranging from the page flags to the 3″ x 5″ size. I’m also debating whether or not I want to put a sticky pocket to hold notes too.

Since I already have a full planner setup, I did not intend to use the monthly planner pages from the pack. But, I did pull out the five tabs, the dashboards for each month and some of the guts for each tab. I’ll go through each tab below.

1st Tab: Contacts

For every tab I used double-side sticky tape to adhere the month dashboard to the tab. That’s because I already have a monthly planner and didn’t intend to add this to my planner. I want to easily grab this caregiver notebook when I run out the door to visit my father or if I receive a phone call about him.

Each tab is also color-coded as best as possible -for not reason in particular other than I like it that way. The quote on my caregiver contacts tab reads, “with compassion you can therefore be brave”, Lao Tzu. For this section, I created a important contacts planner page using my favorite Happy Planner colorful boxes sticker book.

I’ve included boxes for “nursing home”, “legal”, “accounts”, and “life insurance”; under each of these are boxes to list questions I might have for each contact. There are also two extra boxes and a quote that reads, “Be determined to handle any challenge in a way that will make you grow”, Les Brown. The stickers used throughout my caregiver notebook come from the caregiver sticker book (linked below).

In this section I also kept the more detailed preformatted papers that came in the kit that included:

  • Insurance Information
  • Banking Information
  • This Month’s Income | Net Worth | Expenses
  • Personal Contacts

2nd Tab: Notes

For this section and the next two there won’t be any pictures mostly because I used all Happy Planner filler note papers to jot down notes. But, I will go through each section with details of what I plan to keep in each. On the “notes” tab the quote reads, “Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves”, Mason Cooley.

Right now, I’ve got a handful of filler papers in this section. One page is a summary of upcoming care plan meetings, any meetings and/or appointments for my father and recent notes. Another page is a summary of the last care meeting, who was in attendance and what was discussed. The last sheet is a log of any and all falls my father has had since being in the nursing home. It’s a good reference for understanding any patterns.

There are still extra sheets for brain dumps or any additional information I feel necessary to track.

3rd Tab: Lists/To-Do

The third tab is a more active tab and one I reference much more frequently. The quote on the tab reads, “Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing Anyway”, Emory Austin. How very true and appropriate this quote is for the caregiver.

The very first sheet in this section is my “listers gonna list” filler paper. In the beginning when your loved one goes into a nursing home, there is a lot of paperwork to complete and calls to make. This list paper comes in handy! I also added a separate list sheet for any requests my father has; for example, each resident can get their beauty needs met by scheduling an appointment.

While this is not an overly “exciting” section, I do like to infuse my notepaper with as much creativity as I can. That might include hand-lettering headings, using stickers (and lots of them!) and also using colorful pens.

4th Tab: Nursing Home Info

For this section, I’ve decided to customize it to be just for all information related to the nursing home where my father is. I love the quote on this tab, it reads, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around”, Les Buscaglia.

I do have a variety of filler paper in this section that includes, lined, dot grid and graph to jot down just about anything I need to related to the nursing home. I’ll also hole punch documents I’ve received and put them in this section as well (if I feel I need to retain it).

5th Tab: Self-Care

As a caregiver this is the most important section for us. I’m still developing this tab but it currently houses all the “extra” papers that came in the caregiver extension pack. The quote on this tab reads, “the simple act of caring is heroic”, Edward Albert.

I do have plans to create a self-care planner page. I’ve found, too often as we rush through our days and tasks and even when we do have time, we can’t always think of how to practice self-care. So definitely follow Behind the Designs on any of our social media channels and better still, subscribe to the newsletter (link is above or at the end of this post).

The very last thing in this caregiver notebook is a Happy Planner folder. Personally, I feel one can never have too many of these! There is always something that you need a folder for and to keep safe, so my suggestion is to have at least one in each of your planners.


If you are inspired to create a caregiver notebook or similar planner notebook don’t forget to share by tagging me on Instagram and using #btdinspired, I’d love to see your work (and I just might repost your photo)!

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