My father adjusted nicely to his apartment and new routine in an assisted living facility. In spite of Parkinson’s disease, he quickly made friends with other residents who nicknamed him The Mayor. Dad enjoyed his affectionate cat as well as a daily visit from a family member. After six months or so, however, Dad had a fall. Although he did not break anything, his second fall mandated a higher level of care—skilled nursing. It was quite disappointing to learn that the skilled nursing home connected to his assisted living facility did not accept his insurance. Unexpectedly, Dad needed a new place to live. As his legal Guardian, I had the authority to make these arrangements. It was a bit awkward to do so on a holiday weekend in the midst of a family day in Portland, but there was no chaos, no confusion, no conflict—just a lot of phone calls. My brother and I then inspected several nursing homes with available beds. A granddaughter volunteered to adopt Dad’s cat. I informed Dad of the impending move, and he took it well. The crisis was resolved by Dad’s support team, and he felt loved.
We are mortal. This life will end, and we will probably experience decline before it does. HERITAGE OF HOPE cannot prevent death and decline. However, those who complete our six-part program to prepare for the end of this life will create both a plan and a support team. The result? Having a well-rehearsed 4th quarter game plan prevents chaos and minimizes confusion and conflict in times of crisis. It is our prayer that all our alumni will complete their HOH checklists, hold family meetings to build a support team, and prevent the preventable to enjoy a good old age as did Abraham and David (Genesis 15:15, 25:8, 1 Chronicles 29:28). Growing in grace they will still thrive and bear fruit and prosper in old age; They will flourish and be vital and fresh (rich in trust and love and contentment). (Psalm 92:14 AMP).
BEYOND CHAOS & CONFUSION, WHAT CAN YOU PREVENT?
CONCERN about your eternal destiny can be prevented. By sharing your faith in Jesus Christ with your family, they will be reassured you will be with Jesus in Paradise. Your believing loved ones will have the hope of being with you again in Heaven for all of eternity. Instead of concern, they will have all the comfort of biblical promises (Luke 23:39-43, John 20:31, I John 5:13, John 17:3, Rev. 3:20, Isaiah 53:4-6, I Peter 1:3-4). See Home Free and Hope sections.
FALSE HOPES, DISAPPOINTMENT, EVEN ACCUSATIONS can be prevented by (A) being very open about your financial status. While you are still able to verbalize your decisions and priorities, you can discuss the likelihood of an inheritance and/or (B) possibly using professionals to handle the money (Psalm 47:4). See Household section.
UNCERTAINTY about your wishes can be prevented by conducting numerous conversations in family meetings. Debates about burial versus cremation, the national cemetery versus the family plot, and who gets Mom’s wedding rings need not take place after your death because your wishes can be known by all now. The Bible instructs all children to honor their parents. You will have equipped yours to do so by making your wishes known (Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16, Ephesians 6:2). See Hope and Heart sections.
AGEISM can be greatly reduced with the practice of thankfulness and honor, and EUTHANASIA can be prevented if you embrace long life as the gift of God and communicate that clearly to your medical representative (advocate) and support team. (Proverbs 3:13-18).
VICTIMIZATION can be prevented if you have a plan and people in place to assist you during your decline. You will not be an easy target for elder fraud, elder abuse and elder neglect (Proverbs 24:11). See the 4th Quarter Game Plan in the Health section.
EXHAUSTION of a single, full-time caregiver can be prevented or greatly reduced by long term care insurance, a team approach, identifying community resources before they are needed, and choosing or equipping your home to meet your needs. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) See Health & Household sections.
CONFLICT and incorrect assumptions over who is in charge can be minimized or hopefully prevented if your wishes are clearly known. (A) You will have legally designated both your medical representative (health care advocate) and the executor of your estate. (B) You will have empowered them in numerous family meetings by discussing the triggers that will shift the reins from your hands to theirs. What will prompt you to stop driving? Paying the bills? (1 Peter 5:6) See both Heart and Household sections.
JEALOUSY and HURT FEELINGS can often be prevented by discussing the distribution of family memorabilia before your death and the complication of grief (Ephesians 4:31-32). See Heritage and Heart sections.
No matter how much we prepare, the end of this life is sometimes sudden. I DIDN’T GET TO SAY GOOD-BYE can be greatly mitigated, if not prevented, when you write letters to your loved ones. Whether you and yours are on good terms or estranged, you can now put on paper the words they will need to read after you’ve gone to the Father. They may be words of grace and forgiveness, words of love and cherished memories, or words of blessing and prayer. See the Hope section.
LET’S PREVENT THE PREVENTABLE.
COMPLETE YOUR HOH CHECKLIST & BLESS YOUR PEOPLE.