It’s easy enough for residents of Manchester and elsewhere to focus on “being more fit” and other generic New Year’s resolutions that are as easy to make as they are to break.
But what if you focused on specific tasks, rather than general habits, such as taking care of your end of life care details?
The staff at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice always encourage people to start thinking about their own mortality, whether they have plenty of time left or are part of a hospice program.
So that’s why resolving to take care of end-of-life matters as a resolution is a fine idea.
They can be tied into the traditional changing of the calendar year spanning December to January, or really, any holiday or occasion where there’s an opportunity to resolve to make things better and look to not only your future but the future of those around you after you’re gone.
Essentially, by arranging some details now and tying it into a resolution you’re taking steps to provide peace of mind for your loved ones later in life. You also avoid people saying “I wish he/she would have taken care of these items sooner” while they deal with difficult decisions and even possible legal proceedings.
Consider some of these strategies for making useful resolutions – no matter the time of year and whether you have a short time or a long time before your death.
Create and discuss an advanced care plan. They ask you about this in the hospital, but it’s better that you and your family have discussed these wishes in case something happens and you’re not able to give consent. This lets the hospital staff know if they should administer CPR or other life-saving methods if you need them. It also can designate who can make these decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to.
Make sure you have a will. This is a legal document declaring who “gets your stuff” or at least your final wishes for how to divide your assets. This can include instructions such as how money should be divided between family members, if you want any money to go to charity, how to dispose of property, how to take care of any pets, or any other requests. It doesn’t have to be for massive estates either; even people with small bank accounts still should provide guidance in what to do with their savings. Dying without a will can often create legal situations as different heirs may claim they are entitled to different amounts or at least a delay in releasing funds.
Make sure you’re an organ donor. It’s called “the gift of life” and this gift is providing some of your organs to help others who may desperately need them. Some people may be on waiting lists for years to find the right match. Others on the long recipient lists may die or have their health worsen before they can get help. Getting on the donor list in many states can be as easy as going to the driver’s license office and checking a box. Approving this designation keeps family members from having to make this decision if you’re close to death.
Finalize funeral details. You can get family members involved in these discussions and decisions or you can let them have a pleasant surprise after your death that you’ve already arranged much of the details so they don’t have to. This can include designating what funeral home will provide services, what type of services you want, and whether you want a cremation or burial. You can even choose what you want to wear and what music can be played. Some funeral homes even allow you to ‘freeze’ the price when you make arrangements even if you die several years later. Taking care of these decisions now will allow your family time to grieve instead of focusing on the “little stuff” of planning. It will also cut down on potential conflict if people might have different opinions or think you have different wishes.
Bring people together. Some people wait until they’re near death to let loved ones know they’re appreciated or reach out to estranged family members. Or in some cases, they never get this opportunity. But trying to take the effort to be the one to get past problems in the past and apologize first can go a long way. Or, even if there’s no trauma but people are simply spread out and busy, take the opportunity to bring people together. Maybe a get-together around Christmas or a summer reunion can be a perfect time to gather. Certainly, people may be more willing to do so if they realize it could be the last time for someone on end of life care, but you also could encourage everyone to keep on gathering and being together
Above and Beyond Home Health Care encourages everyone to not wait for a certain date to create resolutions – practice them anytime!