Getting Things in Order

How best can you prepare for your departure from this world and for the days before?

Making sure those left behind are not left in the lurch? And your own needs and wishes are met?

A morbid thought maybe. But, as Benjamin Franklin allegedly remarked, ‘Nothing is certain except death and taxes.’

  • What you want to be done

    Before life gets too muddled you will want those responsible to know your wishes on things like –

    • Where you would most want to spend your last days – at home, a hospice, hospital, a care home, or somewhere else?
    • How you would want to be cared for. And any medical procedures or treatments you would wish to refuse.
    • Your spiritual care – are you already linked in with a faith community or would other support be appreciate?
    • What sort of funeral you would wish to have and if you want to be buried or cremated
    • Do you wish any of your organs to be donated?
    • Organ donation? Is our will up to date and easily found?
  • What others will need to know

    The last thing you want to do, when you have breathed your last breath, is to make life difficult for others. That’s why a ‘when I die’ document – placed with your will or where those concerned can find it with ease – is essential.

    Such a document will include –

    • Your internet and computer passwords
    • Log-in details for your computer activities, including banking
    • PINs for credit and debit cards
    • A list of your insurers – building and contents, car, etc – and when renewals are due
    • Where vital documents like a life insurance policy, deeds of the house, etc, can be found
    • Who your spouse should talk too about any pension or access to savings and investments
  • Leaving behind your story

    The generations that follow you would love to have know your story. What were your roots, the important milestones and influences in your life, your most powerful memories, what events you lived through.

    When you are gone there will be no way of them finding out. So use your AfterWork time to write it down, or record it on audio or video tape. If you have grandchildren of a suitable age, you could get them to ask questions and record the conversation for all to enjoy.

    Also, make sure your photographs are all in one place and labelled as accurately as you can.

  • Accommodation and care

    When it comes to ‘the end’, most of us would wish to die at home, with minimal fuss or outside intervention. However, such an ideal is not always possible.

    Statistics reveal 4 out of 10 people aged 65+ will have a life-limiting illness. This rises to almost half for those over 75. That means the time may come when you need adapted accommodation and care of some kind.

    You may want to anticipate this with a ‘downsize’ move to more suitable accommodation. Or be ready to engage with your local authority to access their free provision of minor adaptations; handrails, raised loo seats etc.

    If that time comes, you will have a legal right to a free care-needs assessment by your local authority. Depending on your savings and assets, they must then provide the services and provisions you need.

    Your increasing physical limitations might mean the need for more specialised accommodation and care. A helpful directory of possibilities is at housingcare.org.

    The number of retirement villages and specially designed apartments for older people is growing. Some offer extra care as this becomes necessary. The options can be explored at retirementvilliages.co.uk

    For sympathetic interactive online advice on living in a care home, visit the resource at age.uk

  • Finance

    Dealing with pensions, tax free lump sums, investments and savings is a complicated world for most of us. But with the need to maximise income, budget planning is essential.

    Although the Government provide booklets that are clear and helpful, you may well benefit from some expert input at this stage. It may not need to cost you if there are retired financiers at your church willing to offer guidance.

    Alternatively, a useful source of information, with personal interactive advice, can be found at moneyadviceservice.org.uk

    An up-to-date will is essential, especially as legislation may have changed since you last wrote one. And when it comes to using what you leave behind to change the lives of other explore christianlegacy.org.uk.

  • Legal

    When the days of being ‘actively retired’ are long gone it would be s wise to pre-empt any unfortunate circumstances by giving a trusted family member or friend the authority – through a ‘Power of Attorney’ – to make financial and other important decisions on your behalf should that become necessary.

    You will find helpful advice about the different types of powers of attorney at ageuk.org

  • Emotional and spiritual health

    Even though it can be hard to ask for help, don’t struggle on alone when there is so much on offer from your local authority, family, friends, charities and churches.

    Excellent organisations to look into include –

Is there anything on your saying goodbye list that we’ve missed? Please share it on our Facebook group. And don’t forget to Sign Up to our blog.

The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife