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Getting ready for the end of life is making sure that we are living each day to the fullest.  But seriously – are we ever ready for our final days?   We can prepare spiritually, physically and mentally, but when it comes time for the reality of facing death, perhaps some of us aren’t so prepared. 

A friend recently sent me a message telling me that she likes to make lists.  She also said that she leaves them on the kitchen counter and then has to guess what they were when she gets to the store to buy them. That’s survival mode, and yet, that’s why some families are unprepared for life’s end.  Perhaps it’s a better idea to prepare.  I love making lists and checking items off as I complete them, so here is a 7-step list that helps when you are attempting to organize thoughts regarding end-of-life preparations.

  • Avoid the hallway huddle at the hospital, hospice or house.  This means getting papers, bills, finances, and housing organized before an emergency when decisions have to be made.  Families can delegate individual preparation areas in advance by having family members responsible for finances, health, housing, lawyers and even funeral arrangements.
  • Double up on the P’s with Personal Directive and Power of Attorney.  There are two documents that adults need for the end of life in regard to making decisions and intentions known. A personal Directive allows an individual to make medical decisions if they are incapable.  Power of Attorney gives an individual financial and property authority to make decisions if a person cannot do so. 
  • If there’s a Will, then there’s a way with wishes.  Letting others know what final wishes have alleviated the pressure for the executor or family to know what to do when they have to try to determine what their last wishes were.  Keeping this information up to date is critical.
  • Executors for Electronics need to be knowledgeable about their digital duties.  Because we live in a digital world, some digital usernames and passwords need to be tended to after death.  For example, a Facebook tribute, and bills that are paid online are a few items that an individual would need access to.  Make a list.
  • A final farewell would help with funeral arrangements.  One way to spare family members having to make taxing decisions is to arrange a service, memorial or celebration of life in advance.
  • Leave a Legacy.  Collect the memories, stories, photos and family tree information to pass on to the next generation. 
  • Final 4:  I love you; I forgive you; Thank you; Forgive me are words to share with others before you pass on.  

And so, before facing the final days, be sure to have your lists handy, so you can check the items off.  It makes life easier for you and your loved ones in preparing for the end of life.  

This article was first published in Ladies Corner Magazine Summer of 2021.