Friday, July 9, 2010

Before Anarchy and Chaos Take Over

Originally this post was going to be called “Anarchy and Chaos” and was going to be a stern warning about letting the administration of our lives get out of hand before our ultimate end. It was inspired by my aunt’s passing.

Being the closest to my aunt, I took it upon myself to gather her papers, work with probate, etc. I took a trip to where she lived and saw her apartment for the first time.

I was stunned.

There really wasn’t any kind of order, and there was no way I was going to be able to organize anything during my trip. Papers had to be shipped back to my house, to be sorted later. I wondered if I was ever going to figure everything out. And I wondered how anyone could let things get that much out of control.

As I went through her papers, I sorted them out between assets, liabilities and informational. I put papers in folders according to account name. Then I began to piece together the puzzle that was her life.

Last year, after being hospitalized for heart failure, my aunt had been in and out of hospitals many times. I wasn’t even aware of all the times she had been hospitalized; she liked to keep that information to herself. With each hospitalization, there were many bills and insurance claims. Thrown in with that were a change in health insurance provider and a move from one apartment to another. Top that all off with being on all sorts of medications to treat her maladies, and it was no wonder that the administration of her life got away from her.

Thus, anarchy and chaos.

As our population ages and health problems increase, it’s clear to me that taking care of ourselves physically is big, time-consuming business. When you’re already sickly and your mind is entering its senior stage, it can get simply overwhelming. So what steps can we take to manage it all?

Probably the first thing that needs to be done is swallow your pride. Realize that you’re at a point where you need outside help. (I know this is going to be a tough one for me.)

Next, think of who you might ask for help: your adult child, a good friend, a neighbor? Perhaps some of our health care agencies might know of some resources to assist seniors with their paperwork.

When you get that help, make sure to tell them to keep your paperwork handy to where you can get at it if you or anyone else might need it.

These are only the beginnings of ideas. I’ve got a ways to go before I hit this point in my life, but I’d welcome any ideas or considerations.


  1. Funny you should mention this....I was just thinking this morning that there is probably a 'market' out there for someone to assist others with just this type of thing....and specifically the issues that families face when someone enters a nursing home. (I know my own mom was just plain OVERWHELMED and needed someone to advocate for her/my dad). Not anything *I* am qualified to do for others....but seems like it would be a good service/ministry for someone to provide.

  2. True...the Bible says to provide for widows & orphans...this can be just one way of "providing". You may not be able to give money, but you may be able to give your time and your skill.