How to Prepare for Death of a Loved One?

How to Prepare for Death of a Loved One | HealthSoul

People find death emotional; this title may generate responses such as:

  • OMG!
  • Who thinks about stuff like that?
  • I wish I had had more time with them…

As many have realized after the fact there is so much to do when a loved one is dying that instead of spending time with them the family can be too busy organizing requirements.

As the experts at Pillar Life say: “Take things one day at a time so you can be less stressed in the future and focus more on the real things that matter – the person you love.” Any search on palliative care will indicate there are stages of care and the first is being prepared. Families find many options that are often confusing and some that won’t be determined by them as daily health or accidents will impact this. However, it is clear that In today’s busy world everyone should be as prepared as possible.

Many choices arise such as hospice or stay at home: if it’s your home or the home of a family member, do you need additional support? Who pays for this? Simple issues can cause friction between partners who do not understand the choice. The second on most lists, emotional, and spiritual support which is improved by a secure and clear end of life checklist. There are services that can help you create such a checklist that safely stores everything needed by the family in the event of an emergency or a tragedy.

Cultures treat elderly care differently and America is so multicultural different expectations place unneeded strain on partnerships. It could be as simple as: “If he can do that to his own mother what will he do to me if I get sick?” preparing your own list will provide your family relief.

It is clear that having a checklist prepared will ease the emotional burden but what about security or privacy concerns, while not the focus of this article it is worth mentioning. To be secure online companies like this must use distributed ledger technology, check out the open-source Hyperledger for more details, because it is immutable, exactly what you want to for these kinds of documents.

  1. Who is your Health Care Proxy – who makes health decisions when you’re not able?
  2. An Advance Directive or living will – how/when should keep you alive stop?
  3. A will – How will your assets be dissolved and distributed
  4. Financial Power of Attorney – Your Finances
  5. Memorial plan – a gold-plated coffin or a cardboard box painted by your family!

Let’s look a little more closely at what these are!

What is a Health Care Proxy (and how do I get one)?

Any family member or trusted person can be an HCP, typically someone close who can be your agent to make decisions if you are not able. The New York Health Care Proxy Law is an example of a government form that contains everything a person might need to know to set one up, including instructions in which situations you need the form, which is a good place to start.

It clearly states that levels of health care control can be appointed to different agents. A local friend might be the first point of call or on ICE on speed dial for immediate or short term healthcare decisions and then your children who are perhaps halfway around the world have an HCP with greater authority for long term health matters or an Advance Directive that impacts your estate.

An Advance Directive

An advance directive is well documented by the AARP, an organization founded in 1958 by Ethel Percy Andrus which focuses on the issues affecting those over the age of fifty.

AARP defines an Advance Directive as something “every adult should have”, a document that explains the type of health care you do or do not want when you can’t make your own decisions known. It can also appoint someone to speak for you to make sure your wishes are carried out.

A Will

Preparing a will in order to explicitly discuss the planning for the death of a loved one seems an odious task. It is an odd task to be sure, in the sense of when is the right time to do it, after all things change. Making this available online so that loved ones can easily access them if necessary. Yet where you retain control until you no longer need it just makes sense with the fast pace of life today.

My Will

Financial Power Of Attorney

This general power of an attorney or attorney-in-fact grants authority over financial matters. Like the constitution, they act as a check or balance to judge when your wishes have been fulfilled against the needs to preserve your estate. Also referred to as the attorney-in-fact this person will have the final authority. As with the HCP, individuals can have more than one POA with fairly broad or restrictive control, assigning each agent different duties.

A Memorial Plan

So, imagine a much-loved grandfather, a genial man who never wants to talk about death, especially their own, what do you do when they are gone? It could be a surprise to find they have planned everything perfectly when a checklist is initiated by their power of attorney or a shock to find everything that needs to be planned now while grieving the loss! What kind of parent or grandparent do you want to be?

Death is very personal, many say it cost too much and as such might be asked to be buried in a cardboard box! Surprisingly this can in fact be done, you can order your own cardboard coffin and paint with images of a life well-lived. Many prefer something more permanent, a memorial set quite literally in stone.

We should all be given the chance or allow our loved ones to prepare ahead. Maybe they will find some surprises, a cardboard coffin, some pre-organized bereavement support on your checklist. Maybe you’re thinking of your parents and how this can help them but what is your legacy, what do you want to leave behind. Whatever it is having these documents stored safe and easy access is something we should all be looking into.