There are simply some things in life you MUST plan for in advance in order to emotionally transition through the changes with as little stress as possible! Putting off the inevitable only makes endurance more difficult and draws unprepared bystanders and loved ones into your crisis.
If you have teenagers or elderly parents and have been dealing with some of the medical, logistical, and financial consequences of existing you know what I’m talking about. For the sake of those who are not yet in a state of crisis, lets review some decisions that we should all think about and prepare for LONG BEFORE the moment of need arises:
- Financing for children’s college
- Are you banking on scholarships, work-study, financing?
- Family vacations (this is a necessity for sanity’s sake)
- You must budget for get-aways so you don’t fall into credit card debt
- Retirement lifestyle and location
- Will you live a sedentary or active lifestyle when you retire? Where do you want to retire?
- How to cope with loss
- Loss doesn’t have to wait until you’re old…it happens at all ages–plan for all possible scenarios
- Organ donation
- Medical decisions in emergency/life response situations
- Who will be your advocate? Do you want to be on life support or let nature take its course?
- Long Term medical care arrangements
- Especially important discussion if you have Alzheimer, Dementia, Heart or organ failure in your genes
- Senior living/assisted living transition plans
- If both husband/wife still alive and needing different levels of care will you be in the same facility?
- Last Will and Testament
- Make sure this document is prepared, notarized and the family is informed the document exists
- End of life arrangements (burial place/cremation)
- This decision is one you should make, discuss your desires with your spouse and document
Dealing with family communication complexities in a moment of medical or financial crisis can be just as tricky as negotiating a dispute between waring nations. Don’t wait until your father or father in-law falls and breaks a bone to decide “how” and “who” will deal with the logistics of the situation and how to communicate what’s happening and what needs must be met to the remainder of the family.
If you use my list above and then ask questions about each major bullet. For instance: As you watch the news and a story falls into the category “Medical decisions in emergency/life response situations” ask yourself: “How would I or my family deal with this exact scenario. What consequences would I be forced to deal with? Here are some factors that you must consider:
- Will dealing with this crisis require time away from my job?
- Will another person become completely dependent upon me for basic life skills (eating, hygiene, transportation, medicines, legal)
- If I have my plans made out but am unable to execute them due to impairment (coma, paralysis, etc) who will administer my documented plan of action that I trust to follow it to the letter?
- How will this impact your family financially ~ are you prepared to deal with it–what are your options?
- Who will be the communicator in a crisis (spouse, co-worker, child, sibling, friend?)
- Who will help you in your recovery?
One person cannot shoulder the burden alone for trying to understand how best to deal with such delicate situations. You have even less creativity, imagination, and time to cope when a crisis hits. Make sure you take some time to consider these thoughts and then ask yourself–“Am I prepared?”
- Sources of Information and Support for Alzheimer’s Disease (everydayhealth.com)
- Coping with an Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis (everydayhealth.com)
- Planning Ahead After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis (everydayhealth.com)
- Crisis designation of bed shortage ‘too little, too late’ (windsorstar.com)
- Almost 15 Million Americans Now Caring for Loved One with Alzheimer’s (nlm.nih.gov)
- Seniors at home wait longer for care bed (cbc.ca)
- Are You an Unpaid Caregiver? (loaag.wordpress.com)
- There Are No Winners (notthedestinationbut.wordpress.com)
- 10 ways to prepare for a personal financial crisis (theglobeandmail.com)
- Newspaper Report Claims Pilot Organ Donation Program in Major Chinese City Receives Exactly Zero Organ Donations in First Year – So Where Do the Organs for China’s Huge Organ Transplant Business Come From? (vttyks.wordpress.com)
- Your Questions on Eldercare Answered (abcnews.go.com)
- Caring for Aging Parents (getrichslowly.org)