There are some subjects that have been labeled as taboo, subjects that you don’t bring up often if at all, and when you do you’re immediately hushed as if not talking about them will create an immediate disappearing act. But aging is all a part of the deal; sometimes even illness or injury. And, ironically, discussing and preparing are vitally important ingredients in making these less frightening. I know because I live in the world of healthcare every day.
I’ve been a nurse for four decades, now. I’m one of the lucky ones who found my calling. In fact, in a way, my calling found me. I was a young mother of three, and suddenly discovered I had to find work that would pay the bills. I hadn’t planned on being the breadwinner, but the reality was abundantly clear.
I bought a book on careers and tried to find the one career that would assure me that I would never be out of work. And with the 1970’s nursing shortage, there it was: nursing. In short order, I mustered my best juggling skills and figured out how to care for three little ones, keep up the household, and go to school.
From day one, I fell in love with nursing, with helping people. It was like I found my heartbeat, and it has never died. This was it! That book on careers turned out to be completely right. I’ve never been out of work.
As you can imagine I’ve seen a lot in these years of helping people. I’ve seen people who were beautifully prepared, who had documented their wishes, and had all the loose ends of their life tied up. I’ve also seen the polar-opposite, and I have confess, those were the most difficult days on the job for me and my teams. With no information as a guide, someone had to guess at what the patient wanted; sad for the patient and unfair for the decision-maker. It caused me many sleepless nights, and it all seemed so unnecessary.
I knew that I had to do something.
So, I began compiling stories, both inspiring and cautionary, drawn from my forty years of serving patients and their families. Those stories became the book Age Your Way: Create a Unique Legacy which published in 2016. I also created The Blueprint to Age Your Way: Gather Your Information. Document Your Wishes. Avoid the Unthinkable. It published in February of 2017.
While developing the Blueprint, I decided to try it out on perhaps the toughest audience of all: our family. My husband, Hank, and I sat with all our kids and took them through our Blueprint. We revealed the details of our lives: legal, financial, medical, and personal. We assured they would never need to operate in the dark or guess at our wishes. When finished, we looked around the room to see six sets of eyes, all brimming with tears. Tears of gratitude for the gift we had given them.
It was right then and there that I knew we were on to something, and that something is the combination of stories to encourage people to tie up their loose ends, and a guide for how to successfully accomplish that.
These tools are available so you can tackle the issues that you’ll inevitably face. This is the ultimate gift to both you and your responsible party. With a documented plan, you stem the tide of caregivers having to speculate. You assure control to be the norm as you age. And, by tying up all the loose ends of your life, you’ll be able to age your way, safe in the knowledge that your wishes are chronicled for caretakers and loved ones who will most certainly want to get it right.
To start your plan NOW, go to http://www.AgeYourWay.com
Originally published at medium.com