A recent health scare made me start thinking about what would happen to John if something suddenly happened to me. I’m not worried about the overall money situation, we created a trust over a year ago and I believe the plans we made there are sound.My peace of mind is centered on, “What would immediately happen to John?” It is one thing to lose a spouse and have to deal with all of the arrangements and paperwork, not to mention your grief. But when that person is impaired, how far do you have to go in planning for all contingencies?
A couple in our Alzheimer’s support group came in one day sporting new medic alert bracelets. At first I was puzzled about why they both had one. My “aha” moment came when they revealed that the message inscribed on his read, “Caregiver of Alzheimer’s patient.” Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? This simple message would tell people that the wearer was responsible for someone with special needs.
In the event of an emergency I’m focused on John’s immediate care. He is not so far on his Alzheimer’s journey that he should be placed in a home, but he also has days when a huge amount of patience is needed to interact with him. I do know he can’t live on his own, he would need help.
We’ve talked a bit about what he would like to do. But some of his desires are unrealistic and seem to change day to day. I’m making myself crazy thinking through various scenarios. Where would he go to live? Who could care for him? Would it be better to let him live in our home and have someone move in with him?
Our children all live out of town— the closest is a two hour drive away. So I’m setting up my very own disaster response team. Thus far it includes the Pastor of our church, a family member willing to take charge of John immediately (but only for a short period), our doctor and the executor of our trust.
I’m also creating an ICE (in case of emergency) file that contains a list of John’s medications and when he takes them as well as e-mail account passwords, insurance policies, names of banks, a detailed household budget, addresses and phone numbers of John’s family (who live in another state and no one here knows).
I’m sure there are more things to add, but since this is new to me I’ll include things as I go along. Morbid? Maybe. But I’ve learned that planning is looking at all of the inevitabilities of life, which of course includes death.
So to the question, “What would happen to John if something suddenly happened to me?” I love him too much to leave these decisions to chance.