Have you had “The Talk”? You know the one you really don’t want to have and hope they just find out the facts and act accordingly without your having to say anything? You pray all this to occurs before something bad happens.
No, I am not talking about “The Talk” about the “Birds and the Bees” but “The Talk” about “The Facts and the Future”. Let me explain.
Growing up in South Florida we know the importance of preparing for hurricanes whenever they seem to be coming our way. There were times when we took boards or shutters off windows we had covered in response to hurricane threats which never happened. Yet, when they did, we were always ready. Like a hurricane, it pays to be prepared. If you are not caregiver now, you never know when you will get that phone call in the middle of the night informing you of a loved one’s illness. Like a hurricane, you never know where the next healthcare challenge may strike you or a loved one. Do you have the Advanced Directives in place for you or your loved one? Who will be your caregiver, if you need one? Have all adults in your family discussed their end of life wishes with one another?
The best time to have “The Talk” is when your loved one is heathy and active and can communicate effectively their needs and wishes. So do it sooner, rather than later.
Here are eight questions to ask a parent, spouse, friend or yourself:
- Finances – Who (banks, insurance, bills), What (lawn, pool, misc. contractors, Where (where are your files?), When (due dates & services provided) & How (How do you pay your bills: by phone, check writing, or on line?)
- Health – Insurance coverages, list of current meds, general health, doctor list. Do you need help with claims, completing forms, etc.?
- Living Situation – Is your home still appropriate for your health needs. Are there any safety hazards? Can your home be made more suitable: stair climber, hand rails, removing throw rugs? Can you manage the household chores: cleaning house, fixing meals?
- Activities – Is help needed with household chores: cleaning, meal preparation, yard work? Does poor eyesight interfere with your daily activities? Can the telephone or a knock at the door be heard?
- Mobility – Is driving difficult? Do you have reliable transportation for shopping, medical visits, religious services, and visits with friends & family?
- Do you have Advanced Directives? These include a Living Will (what you want or do not want if you are unable to make your own decisions), Surrogate Designation (a person designated to make medical decisions for you, Organ Donation (donation of body or parts of your body, i.e. organ and tissue donations).
- Memorial Wishes – Cremation vs burial, funeral, and/or memorial service?
- Anatomical Donation: Donation of body or parts of your body, i.e. organ and tissue donations.
Although this talk can bring up feelings of loss, be uncomfortable, feel too personal, and prying; preparing for such an even can often make for better relationships and a smoother pathway for the future. Just like preparing for a Hurricane.
SO HAVE “THE TALK”!