When you hear someone talking about the future and the plans they are making as to where they will be living, who will be taking care of them,
and how they will be taken care of, do you think to yourself, “I won’t need care. I’m in great physical shape, I am of sound mind, my spouse/partner and I have a great relationship so they will be able to take care of me if something goes wrong.
Scenario #1 . . . 25 years later. You Spouse/Partner is no longer with you. You have developed a Dementia-Related Illness and the time has come that you
are no longer able to live and care for yourself. You enter into a Care Community where no one knows you, no one knows about you and you are unable to tell them anything about your past. They have to figure things out the best they can as to how you would want them to care for you.
Scenario #2 . . . 25 years later, you develop a Dementia-Related Illness. Your Spouse/Partner finds it difficult to care for you at home. The 2 of you had already made plans as to where either of you would go in case the other spouse was not able to properly care for the other. The two of you also made videos years before . . .
One video was made for your future CarePartners as to what your wants, needs and wishes are, and the other video was made to your Spouse / Partner as to what your wishes are from them.
I have to say, the couple that made the videos were much more prepared than the couple that did not.
The reason I am writing this is because, at almost 60 years old and Living with Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular Dementia, Type 2 Diabetes and underwent a Triple Bypass last year, I know that my time on this earth is precious and I want things to be in order when my time comes to move into a Care Community.
Just last week, I made 2 videos . . .
One to my future Care Partners and one to Maureen, my Care / Life Partner.
The one to Maureen was extremely hard and emotional but necessary. You see, sooner or later I will not be able to tell her how much I love her, I won’t be able to tell her Thank You for all she has done, and continues to do, for me. I want her to continue hearing my voice, telling her what it means to have her in my life. The other reason is she asked me to record my voice telling her that I lover her. You see, we both will reap joy from these little messages.
I’ve also asked her to sneak in some Peanut Butter, Ice Cream, Chocolate Covered Almonds, Starbucks Coffee (Venti, Pike Place, 3 Splenda, and half n half . . . just in case you want to come visit me when/if Maureen can’t make it.)
I know you have heard the phrase, “it’s the little things that make the biggest difference” but they really do. Being prepared with a plan for the
unforeseen future, being prepared with a Life Care Plan which includes Advance Directives is, what I would define as, mandatory.
The second video I made was to my future Care Partners. I told them of my love for music and how it lessens my times of anxiousness. I included some particular songs from my favorite artists and my favorite genres.
There’s nothing like listening to New Orleans Jazz Greats Al Hirt and Pete Fountain, the heavenly voice of Aaron Neville and the funky sounds of the Neville Brothers and the Meters. I had to include my country fav’s Tim McGraw, Kenny Rogers, Tracy Byrd, Dolly, Reba and Faith, just to name a very few.
I told them of my favorite foods . . . Peanut Butter, Cheerios, Coffee (duh!) Yes, I can (and have) survived on those foods and yes, I know I am
Type 2 Diabetic but you know, considering all else I will be going through, I don’t think a little peanut better and Cheerios will matter.
I also asked them to take me outside so I can feel the sun on my face and so I can take photos. I take a lot of photos for they help me remember
where I have been. I also know that when I look at photos, I may not remember where I have been but, as Maureen once told me, I can experience the warm feelings I had when I took the picture.
By the time I enter a Care Community I plan on having albums and albums of photos that will bring many, many fond memories and beautiful feelings.
Finally, I made one final request and I have included this is my video to Maureen. On my last day upon this earth, I have requested to have Maureen by my side.. Before she kisses my good-bye, I would like for her to put a little bit of Peanut Butter on her lips. Hopefully that will bring a smile to both of us.
You may notice that I tend to sprinkle my blogs, stories, conversations and other posts with humor. It’s not that I am making a joke about the things I write, it’s that I have found that a little bit of humor eases the seriousness of things. I have asked my future Care Partners to joke with me, share jokes with me and don’t be so serious all the time. In my humble opinion, laughter is a necessity of life and it also can ease the tension to make things a bit more bearable.
It’s also why I have decided to be cremated instead of having people standing in line to look at a version of who I once was. I don’t want my “Celebration of Life” to be a sad, solemn occasion. I want music to be played, I want food and alcohol, (and Starbucks Coffee) I want my guests to have 1 final celebration with me before my ashes are placed in a planter and I become part of a beautiful tree.
I hope you can take what you have read here and incorporate some or all the things I mentioned into your future Care Plan. These are mere suggestions for you to use or not. Either way, please make a plan for your future and make sure it is YOUR plan. No matter how many friends or family members you have, YOU are the one that knows YOU the best. If you wait for too many tomorrows to come around, well, let’s just say, don’t wait until it’s too late!
Until Next Time,
PEACE (and Starbucks)
#planforthefuture #dontwaituntilitstoolate #knowme #teamworkmakesthedreamwork