Category Archives: End of Life Planning

The Cobbler’s Children And The Lawyer’s Father

I always tell my clients that it is better to talk with their families about their health care wishes ahead of time, before they land in the hospital. It gives you the time to really think about things, and to have the discussion at a time when no one is in crisis mode.

So it was rather interesting to find myself sitting in a hospital room last week with my father, asking him to sign a health care proxy and talking about his wishes for his health care if something happens and he can’t communicate his wishes. (Never mind my disturbance at the fact that no one from the hospital had approached him about this in the 4 days that he had been there. According to my sister, a nurse, hospital staff rarely have time to bring up the issue.)

Having to bring the topic up at that time was not ideal, and my sister and I had to strategize about how, when and if to bring it up, depending on how he was feeling when we went to see him. Thankfully, he was feeling much better and we were able to have the conversation (which ended in laughter as we imagined ourselves trying to dig a grave in the small burial plot on his land, where the last inhabitants were interred in the 1800’s.)

My father is in good hands, and we hope he will have many more years before the health care proxy is activated and someone else needs to make decisions for him. And it is nice to know that our visits can now focus on important things like how many laps around the floor he has taken and whether his doctors will let him get back to snow shoeing next winter.

What kind of tree would you be?

Barbara Walters apparently once asked Katherine Hepburn what kind of tree she wanted to be. She was often mocked for this, but according to a wikipedia article, she was just following up on a comment by Hepburn that she would like to be a tree. Well, now we can each decide what kind of treeContinue Reading

How To Research Family History

Stuck inside during a blizzard and need a fun project? Searching your family tree can provide hours of interesting discoveries (assuming you have electrical power, of course.) There are a few sites you can use: Family Search https://familysearch.org/ is free to use. You can also volunteer to help index old records to make them accessible.Continue Reading

Action Item: Share Some Information This Week

What is a quick action you can take this week to make your and your family’s life easier in the event of an emergency? Share some information! This can be as little as telling someone who your attorney, accountant and financial advisor are so they can contact them if they need to help you. OrContinue Reading

Food, Feelings and End of Life Wishes

The New York Times has a recent article about Food and the Dying Patient. It talks about a patient with dementia who could no longer swallow. When they tried to feed her she aspirated the food into her lungs which was causing pneumonia. The doctors turned to the family to decide whether they wanted aContinue Reading

Do You Need To Update Your Living Will?

A living will, also called an advance health care directive, is a place to lay out your wishes for medical care and treatment at the end of your life. The hope is that your appointed agents will make sure these wishes are carried out. You can specify things such as whether or not you wantContinue Reading

“Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”

My favorite New Yorker cartoonist wrote/drew a memoir of caring her for aging parents called “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” It outlines their decline as their minds and bodies start to go. She talks about how no one wanted to talk about “the future” but still they had to keep walking towards itContinue Reading

When Should I Write My Will? A Lesson from House, M.D.

I was watching a rerun of House, MD last night. One of the main character doctors became severely ill over the span of a couple of days. Finally, in severe pain, he was going to be put into a medically induced coma with the chance he might not survive. At this point he feebly tellsContinue Reading

Will Your Family Honor Your Health Care Wishes?

When I work with my clients to help prepare their plans for what will happen to their things after they pass away, I also talk to them about making sure that we put a plan in place for what will happen to them while they are alive but incapacitated and need someone to communicate withContinue Reading

Hospice Home Opening in Hingham

The old Quaker Friends Home on Turkey Hill in Hingham is being reopened as a hospice facility this fall by Norwell VNA & Hospice. The Hospice Residence at Turkey Hill will have 12 beds in private rooms. According to the website: The focus of care is on providing physical, emotional, social and spiritual support forContinue Reading