Other important documentation…….

As a follow-up to the last entry, it helps to have knowledge of –

Financial assets

  • insurance policies (health, auto, property, life)
  • bank accounts
  • real estate holdings / investments
  • lock combinations, passwords, hiding places (coffee cans buried in the back yard?)

Legal documents (in future entries, we’ll talk more about these documents with an eldercare attorney)

  • Will / Living will
  • Power of Attorney
  • Health Proxy

With permission, you should make copies of all documentation and keep a set for yourself.  Obviously, there must be a level of trust and mutual respect to proceed with this type of talk.  And sometimes, family history and dynamics will still muck up your shoes.

Even if your parents are healthy and fit, it’s a good idea to have these conversations sooner than later.  As difficult as they may be (we’re talking about mortality, after all), if you engage with compassion and respect, everyone should feel a level of reassurance when done.

As well, do you know what Mom and Dad have in mind for end of life services and rites?  High mass or celebration of life, wake/no wake, burial/cremation?  “Oh My Pa-Pa” sung by Eddie Fisher or “Without You” by the Dixie Chicks.

I know how much easier it sounds to simply avoid this altogether (we did for years).  Still, while you are at it, maybe you should make copies of your own paperwork for a son or daughter (a friend) to hang onto, put your living will together, read up on cryonics………

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About hereisakiss

Daughter Writer Art's Educator
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2 Responses to Other important documentation…….

  1. Jenna says:

    Thank you so much for starting this blog! I truly appreciate all of the information you are sharing. This information couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Can you describe how you would “gently” approach these issues with your loved ones?
    You are a blessing!!
    Jenna

    • hereisakiss says:

      Hi Jenna…One gentle approach would be swapping this information with your parents, acknowledging that you (too) need someone looking after your important info. Of course, it depends on your unique situation and the elders involved.

      I was just talking to someone about this yesterday. She is still young and vibrant, but we discussed the ‘fiery crash’ scenario (I think you get the picture). She and her husband have one adult daughter and she’s going to make copies of everything (insurance cards, living will, the music she’d like played at her funeral, etc), record the names/numbers of doctors and give it all to their daughter as a gift.

      Back to your situation…any approach you use should be punctuated with “I love you” and should be treated with dignity. No parent (no person) wants to admit that roles are beginning to reverse, let alone believing in their own mortality. Expect some pushing back, but remember where it comes from and keep it close to your heart.

      You might say, “Mom/Dad, I love you and I know you love me. Do you think you could help me out?” My mother can be snarky and rude and generally disconnected, but she still wants to be helpful. She still wants to know (to show) she matters. “Mom, can you help me out here? I don’t know where you keep this information.” And always say, “Thank you.” Let her know how much you appreciate her.

      If necessary, it might be a good idea to have the conversation in front of an aunt or uncle, a longtime friend. Or even have the conversation while her general practitioner is present, if you know who this is and feel comfortable approaching him/her.

      Another idea is to start with, “I was wondering. Do you have a living will?” This personal document is critical, but its contents should be known to family members (that’s part of its purpose, after all). If they have one, they should want you to know where it is kept and what it contains. From there, you could possibly move into other conversations.

      I hope this is helpful. Let us know how it goes-
      Elizabeth

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