Life Preparedness 101

mbicons1.jpgWe all know that we should plan for future life-changing events, but it’s one of the first things we put on the back burner. We have a million excuses, and have learned that procrastination does not work, but there are some things we just never make time to complete.

When it comes to organizing your personal information, doing it later is often too late. The statistics are alarming—some 43 percent of all people age 40 now will have a long-term disability event prior to reaching age 65. And seven out of ten people who turn 65 today will need some type of long-term care services and support lasting three or more years. Could a loved one act as your medical advocate and provide your medical history or list of medications if you were unable to? Could someone else access your bill-paying account to cover basic expenses while you recovered?

Having a system that documents your passcodes, inventories your assets and provides a health biography will not only provide you with quick access to information when you need it, but also can provide a roadmap to the individual that would step in and help you—even if only temporarily—should you need it.

In 70 percent of all households, Consumer Reports found that both spouses were unaware of the major details about family finances and where to find account information. If your partner was suddenly incapacitated, would you be able to step in and manage what your partner was doing? And if you live on your own, it’s doubtful that friends or family would know the details of your life and your wishes if they wanted to help you.

For all these reasons, documenting your life details and putting them in a format that makes it easier for you to retrieve and that someone else can access is important. It matters the most to those people around you whom you love and would be negatively impacted by your failure to simply document basic details.

Click here for a checklist of all of the important documents and details you should have organized. 

We found your Mom on the floor

ambulanceThe issues are starting to snowball now. I got a call from the community to let me know that they found my Mom on the floor and have called 911. I let them know I’m on my way.

Before I can leave, I get a call from the EMT asking me some questions about my Mom. She doesn’t want them to touch her. The EMT asks for permission to assess my Mom. After I say “yes” she asks if I could get to my Mom’s apartment. I let her know I was planning on coming after I got the call and hope that it will only take me 30 minutes to get there.

After 40 minutes, they call again as I’m finally walking into my Mom’s apartment. She is laying on the bed now. My Mom is now asleep. I find out that when they found her she was asleep on the floor. She thought she was asleep in her bed. We assume she fell, but it’s another mystery.

I try to get my Mom to wake up and get out of bed. They tell me she was complaining of her back hurting when they moved her. I explain that she has been complaining of a back ache for more than a year on and off. When we have seen the doctor, she denies having back pain.

The EMT offers to take my Mom to get an MRI to make sure there is no injury. I recall how they did this for my Dad when he fell in the bathroom a week before he died. I suppose it’s standard operating procedure, but I would think you would first find out if she has pain.

I hesitate to go down this path because I feel like we are checking the boxes, not really following up on an issue. I also know the new environment will only bring out mean Mom (the lion). I work to get my Mom out of bed which takes time. She just wants to sleep and asks me to come back later. The EMTs have already been her for 50 minutes now, so I can’t let her finish her nap. I ask if she will get up and help me. She tells me to “buzz off and come back later.” I try to convince her that I need her help making sure it’s her clothes in the laundry and she tells me she doesn’t care. I finally get her up. We all watch as she slowly sits up with trembling arms.

The biggest concern for me is that my Mom can’t verbalize her pain. I tried and failed to find why my Dad was slurring for months before he was finally diagnosed with a tumor on his tongue.

The only way to really tell is to have my Mom get up and walk around. After she’s up, she walks across the room and out the door. She seems to be her same frail and stiff self and says nothing hurts.

I decline to send my Mom off for an MRI. She crawls back into bed and goes back to sleep. Eye-witnessed.