Talk About the Tough Stuff

Aug 29th, 2008 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Sharing knowledge, particularly in a marriage and family, is a critical Must for Seniors. A conversation with a dear friend the other day revealed that a mutual friend was spending her nights and days in the hospital with her critically ill husband. My friend shared that the wife had no idea about any of the matters regarding the couple’s financial affairs. She had, as too often happens in male dominated relationships, just gone along with his taking care of it all. Now, in the hospital, experiencing serious, life threatening issues, it is almost too late to be brought up to speed.

So “what do you know and when you should know it” is a stop and think it over question. Financial and legal matters need to be open and shared in a relationship. Issues surrounding an estate, financial obligations, income, status of any debt, insurance, where legal and other papers are kept are just a few of the matters to top the list.

Here are some others:

>Has there been a DNR (Do not resuscitate order) prepared?

>Does each member of the family with a need to know have information readily available to deal with a sudden unexpected illness or catastrophe in the family?

>Have all appropriate legal and financial matters been put in order and reviewed regularly? Are they in a safe place?

>Is there a power of attorney in place?

>Have considerations been given for A Living Will?

>Have you talked about and agreed on an Organ Donor plan?

>In the event of a major accident or catastrophic event affecting both parties, is there someone who is charged with making decisions and empowered to do so? Be sure that person knows when to intervene and has the authority to act.

>Finally, don’t assume anything. Talk it over. Review and update all matters regularly. Make no changes, unless all the appropriate parties are invovled and informed. Choose an annual time to go over these details, one that will be easy to remember, perhaps around or on an anniversary, birthday or other significant date.

>Begin by asking questions. Then ask some more! Don’t hesitate until all matters which affect you both are on the table. Sure these are tough issues. But, the well prepared avoid desperate and frustrating circumstances, for themselves or others, if/when such matters become immediate.

>Consult the appropriate professionals, physician, attorney, trusted family members or friends.

The important key in all of this is: DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING! Talk everything through until everyone who should be is on the same page.

Finally, keep healthy, but be ready!



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