In college, I had the distinct privilege to sing in the concert choir. From time to time, an African spiritual song would be included in our repertoire. Today I am reminded of this because the words (and melody) “I Want to be Ready” continues to “play” in my mind.
Have you ever had a song get “stuck in your head?” No matter what I do, it just keeps resurfacing! Maybe it’s circumstantial or maybe it’s calling me to action!
Recently, a friend of mine died unexpectedly. She was older than I am, but was not yet 70. Her death came as a shock as she was a healthy, hard working person. What makes it even more tragic is the fact that she was a care giver for her husband…and her husband had memory problems. Unfortunately, it gets even worse as the family would soon realize that there weren’t any legal or medical documents in place for their dad.
How many of us are reading this and know the importance of having “our affairs in order” yet haven’t done so ourselves?
Having your medical and legal wishes known are important for any of us, regardless of our age. I remember when we had our children, we quickly drew up papers to secure they would be taken care of in case something unfortunate happened to my husband and me. For most of us, these documents are not reviewed very often. It’s something we keep putting off.
Medical and legal experts encourage people to review their documents from time to time to be certain that situations/wishes have not changed. When people are diagnosed with a serious illness, they too are encouraged to examine their financial and healthcare arrangements as soon as possible. Moreover, it is particularly important to have plans in place for people diagnosed with dementia as that person may lack, or gradually lack, the ability to think clearly or to make these decisions for himself/herself.
According to the National Institute on Aging, advance planning should take place immediately after a diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s while the person can participate in discussions. People with early-stage disease can often understand many aspects and consequences of legal decision making. As the disease progresses, this ability becomes difficult and the validity of the document might come into question.
My recommendation (and assignment!) for all of us is to get our legal, financial and healthcare documents in order! Advance directives for healthcare are documents that communicate healthcare wishes. Some examples include: A Living Will (records a person’s wishes for medical treatment) a durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (designates a person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf) or DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders. Financial and Estate planning might include a Will, a Power of Attorney for Finances (names someone to make financial decisions on your behalf), or a Living Trust (provides instructions about the person’s estate and appoints someone to hold title to property and funds for the beneficiaries). If you are uncertain where to begin, give me a call! It is important for you and those who care about you to know your wishes. We never know what tomorrow may bring, so let’s get our arrangements taken care of today!
I Want to be Ready……how about you?
Until next time, take care of you!