Curve balls and life transitions…

aunt-joyce-matchesLIFE THROWS CURVE-BALLS; an unexpected death, a forced move, health issues, nursing homes, assisted living… Since I first wrote this article, my Aunt Joyce has passed away.

She was the one that ALWAYS talked to me when I was a blue teenager, and well into my 20’s she was my cheerleader. In my 30’s, we became friends and by the time I was deep into my career, she had moved with her husband Bob down to Florida thinking the warm climate would be a wonderful change from the freezing cold rain in Philly.  Things were good for a short while and one day, when my Aunt was driving with my Uncle, their car went out of control and flipped over. They both landed in intensive care at the hospital and then were moved to rehab for months. My Aunt Joyce left the hospital but my Uncle Bob never did recover.

Transitioning is difficult and stressful – it’s wrestling with the unknown. Some of us are fortunate to have families that can assist, but sometimes they live far away. Some of us don’t have families and we feel alone. Having an advocate or being an advocate for a loved one is the key.

THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE IS THIS: Have plans in advance – don’t wait until a crisis hits for the thought process to begin. Start talking to your Spouse, Parents, Children, Aunts, Uncles, Close Friends etc. now – confront the discomfort sooner than later and have those talks. There are so many details, so many things that you won’t think of on your own, so many things that you cannot possibly foresee unless you start TALKING.

Aunt Joyce and Dad

My Aunt Joyce and Dad at Saunders House

Latin Casino Aunt Joyce

My Aunt Joyce – Left, second in. Beautiful

Start purging documents and items; so many of us hang on to things for decades; things we’ll never look at again – it’s not unusual. Go through your files and start shredding and throwing things out. Get your paperwork in order. This is not a pleasant task or something that has to happen overnight but it should be an ongoing process. Doing this kind of work in advance will keep you and your family unencumbered; having papers and clutter cleared will help to relieve some of your sadness, burden and stress. An organizer can help with these things.

Ask for help from an estate management professional, attorney, fiduciary* when needed.Aunt Joyce matches

In advance, think about and identify people that can be there to help in these times of need, loneliness and despair to make sure there is food, nutrition, and company to talk to and walk with. Get outside and breathe fresh air. I visited my Aunt Joyce (who has dementia) several weeks ago at her nursing home. I wheeled her outside and saw a complete transformation on her face, and she said to me “… look, the Pansies are all smiling…” That was the worth the price of admission.

Paralysis can be deadly and is often the state of mind of a person in life crisis such as the death of a spouse or family member.

If you have lost a spouse, are needing help with the aging process, or have aging family members or friends that live in Santa Barbara County and need assistance, you have arrived at your destination.

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* A California Licensed Fiduciary is a person or institution given the power to act on behalf of another in situations that require great trust, honesty and loyalty. Fiduciaries you may already be familiar with include accountants, attorneys, bankers, business advisors, financial advisors, mortgage brokers and real estate agents. These individuals are hired to act in a clients best interest and must set aside their own personal motives in favor of your goals.



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