Will or Not to Will?

“An oral contract is as good as the paper it is written on.” So said Samuel Goldwyn.

And with all things as we age – a good precaution is never wasted. 

To Will or not to Will? Avoidance seems the norm for a third or more of adult Canadians. Death, Wills & Powers of Attorney and all that paperwork. This is a sensitive topic that some people find very hard to address. Some think if you make a Will you’ll die.  Well surprise, surprise – not making a Will won’t keep you alive. 

Everyone needs a Will. Lawyers suggest reviewing your Will every few years to keep it current with tax laws and inheritance rules.  Everyone also needs Powers of Attorney – one for Property and one for Personal Care.  These are legally binding documents so it’s a good idea to seek legal advice. 

An additional document is an Advanced Directive (sometimes called a Living Will). It’s not a legally binding document, but is an influential expression of the care you want and can help guide decisions for the person who is your POA for Personal Care. In it there are written guidelines to help, in the face of sophisticated medical science complicated by our living longer with complex health conditions. It gives you a chance to direct care when you can’t speak for yourself.

Choose the trusted person(s) you want and ask “are they are comfortable or willing to accept your authorization?”Make sure the language is fair, clear and concise. Check that your instructions are legal and medically possible. Also consider the state of your health.  A frail person with severe osteoporosis would be wise to check out the repercussions of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) since it is vigorous and damaging to chest and rib cage bones.  You may say you don’t want this type of intervention; but comfort, care and pain management are other types of interventions you may welcome.

Guiding others and forestalling family fights and misunderstandings where ever possible are important objectives accomplished through these documents discussed here.  Let’s face it we all want to be in charge of our lives. Good documentation goes a long way towards making this happen.

Mary Ellen Tomlinson

Owning Our Health As We Age

In today’s multimedia world, we have fast access to abundant knowledge on practically every health and health care topic in the known universe. The good news is we can self educate. The bad news is that there is a tendency to self diagnose, which may not help in making well informed decisions.

As we age we’re faced with growing concerns around:

  • maintaining our health, well being and independence
  • affordable health care being available – when we need it
  • having enough money to cover unexpected health costs
  • living a life that will help sustain optimum health, for years to come

How do we avoid the stress of over-thinking that intake of abundant knowledge? The stress created by a sense of vulnerability negatively impacts us mentally and physically. Worry keeps the mind in overdrive and wears down the body’s resources.  It’s easy to get caught up in the negatives but that only contributes to the downward spiral of anxiety and worry.

Good health isn’t merely the absence of disease (dis – ease) or symptoms; it’s a state of well-being.  There are many ways we can own our health that require minimal time or money.  It may not be through familiar methods, but staying open to the options allows us to explore areas that complement standard medical treatments. 

For thousands of years balancing the mind, body and spirit has been achieved through what we may view as non traditional methods.  This includes natural remedies such as herbs or plants; physical exercise such as walking or yoga; as well as spiritually based practices such as prayer and meditation.

All you need to do is take time to listen to your body.  What is it telling you?  If you need quiet time, find 30 minutes in a day to sit with your eyes closed while breathing deeply from your belly. Your body will relax. If you feel restless take 30 minutes a day to go for a walk. You will feel energized. If you feel like you’re coming down with a cold or flu explore natural remedies available. They will work in alignment with your body.

Remember; our bodies always seek to heal themselves. We just have to listen. We can own our health as we age.

Sandra Downey