Friday, March 3, 2017

Securing your documents and records: Serious issue for Senior Citizens

Securing your documents and records: Serious issue for Senior Citizens

An important task that all senior citizens should pay attention to is to the get their papers in order. All important records from birth to death and after – are they easily retrievable by you or others in need? 

Judy Rough, in a video session entitled “Getting your Ducks in a Row” during the Virtual Summit [26th Feb to 4th March 2017] organized by Age Without Borders, showed how to handle above questions. Personal identification records, medical / health records, financial investment papers, home, inventory and property documents, insurance, photos, videos, will, passwords, wallet contents etc --- you must listen to her at least just to look at the list and type of papers / documents to think about. I was amazed at the exhaustive list of items we should bother about, but don’t. She touched upon both physical and digital records maintenance. She said she got inspired in this area  after observing her father who did a meticulous and perfect job of handling records and documents.

Inspired by Judy’s talk, I wish to share info on digital documents storage facility for this problem.  Google Health provided such a facility for medical records alone for some years but was discontinued in 2011. Govt of India has started a free service called digital locker at: or This is  service available to  all Indians to safely keep all records like birth certificate, educational records, Aadhaar card, ration card, driving license, Will etc.  The website holds some 165 crore Documents (from 45 lakh registered users) in safe custody already, proving that it is gaining popularity and confidence of people.

Once you register yourself and link your Aadhaar things start rolling. You can upload any document you need to retrieve (only pdf gif jpg formats for the time being). In the case of certain govt issued documents like Driving License or School certificate you can request concerned agency to upload it from their database. Keeping your driving license in the digital locker helps you flash it to anyone who may ask for it right from your mobile phone – no need to carry plastic card!  However, this part is still under development. As far as other documents of your own are concerned, you need to scan them into jpg or gif format. The site is relatively easy to use and reliable. It is also highly secure as explained in its FAQ.

Of course regular bank lockers are available for safe keeping originals of land records, Will , mortgage documents etc. We need to make an inventory of all important papers, sort them into folders, file them, index them showing location and method of deletion / removal / transfer etc. This may appear to be lot of work but worth it. Especially for senior citizens as their memory is unreliable and you cannot predict what you need when.

1 comment:

  1. Judy Rough told me this in a private mail:
    Thank you for listening, Padmanabha, and for writing the blog. I have dreamed for years that the US would provide a system like the one you have in India. Thank you for this information.
    Warm regards,