I am working on an idea. It’s a bit off beat….but it also, in many ways, makes perfect sense.
We are planners. We plan vacations, we plan parties, there are a plethora of tv shows relating to wedding planning and we now plan when we are going to have a baby…some think we are quickly reaching the point where we can plan what the sex of that baby will be! Many of us plan for retirement ( or were trying to before the stock market tanked!)
In recent years, we hear more and more about planning for our death. Making a will to ensure our possessions and any wealth we may have is distributed according to our wishes, creating a living will, so that our health care wishes are carried out. Many choose to be organ donors . And maybe even purchasing cemetary plots or at least letting your family know if you prefer to be cremated – all those plans!
Having experienced the aging process with several of my aunts and uncles, my father and now my mother and the sometimes unforeseen consequences of that process, it seems that maybe some additional planning needs to happen.
As I watched my mother try to cope with her 3000 square foot house, and the maintenance and repairs that are a part of home ownership, she was also struggling with failing health, failing energy and attention to detail. We fought over installing grab bars in her bathroom after a couple of bathtub falls. She resented my taking over her check book and bill paying even though the task had become confusing and nearly impossible for her.
At one point as my frustration at my mother’s resistance increased, I jokingly said ” At some set age, we should all be forced sign an agreement concerning what will happen we can no longer care for ourselves!!” and people laughed! But upon further reflection, why not? What should we, could we, agree to while we are still fully functioning? And while the aging process may impare our recollection of having signed such a document, might it make those responsible for our care just a little more at ease? Might that agreement dissuade a bit of the guilt and the frustration our caregivers may feel when those tough decisions have to be made??
While it does not erase the pain and grief a family member may feel, a living will may provide a bit more peace of mind, when that family member has to make the decision to end life support or stop some sort of treatment MIght this potential agreement make things just a bit easier for that ” sandwiched” caregiver who is struggling mightily with tough decisions that will affect the well being of someone they love?
I am interested in knowing YOUR thoughts on this idea. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. or comment on this blog post.
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