We went through a lot during that week. During those long nights that I sat awake thinking, it occurred to me that there are some things that I should have prepared in case of a serious illness of a family member.
My mind raced with worry. How I would deal with a potential of a debilitating health condition or the possibility of losing my wife?
It also forced me to think about what I should have in place right now. I am a planner by nature, but many of you reading this are not.
So here are some of my thoughts on what to think about during the illness of a close family member.
1. Have a will. Nobody wants to think about the possibility of a family member passing as a result of serious illness. However, the center piece of your planning should be a will. It takes the guesswork out of deciding how to distribute any property (if a death results), and helps make some important decisions.
One thing that went through my mind is what would happen to my children? A will is particularly important if you have minor children. You’ll need to decide where and with whom you’d like them to live.
2. Have a durable power of attorney. This is to be able to plan for times when you are incapacitated. Let’s face it, if you’re in the hospital you may not be able to think clearly from medication or a surgery. It’s very important to have durable power of attorney to come into play just to be able to have your affairs continue, such as paying regular bills. Pick a reliable, trustworthy person.
3. Have a medical directive. Similar to a durable power of attorney, a medical directive will allow you to have your wishes know as to whether you want artificial life support methods to be implemented or continued. Again, difficult stuff to think about, but better to think about it before you see your spouse laying in a hospital bed.
4. Know where documents are located. The number one thing that people ask me to help them with is financial organization. They have a big mess and don’t know where crucial documents are located. I provide a cloud based secure vault for my client’s documents such as wills, trusts, and insurance information. It’s important that at least one other member of your family know where this stuff is located.
5. Rely on a support group. I tend to be a self-motivated individual. Maybe it’s my military training or the fact that I’m an independent advisor. Maybe I’m just a control freak by nature. Whatever the case, rely on other people who care about and love you. What I mean is delegate some of the chores you just can’t get to in a time of crisis. That could mean neighbors, fellow church members or friends and family. If you don’t, and I found out the hard way, you’ll be totally exhausted from care giving, and may find yourself getting sick.
This was one scary time. I’ve never seen my wife this sick. I was totally helpless while I watched her in pain for all those days. Do yourself a favor, get this information together so you won’t be in a panic if and when a serious illness strikes your family. If you’d like more information, just write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at (859) 225-2596.