Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Everything My Family Needs to Know

My colleague, Roger McManus, has a great product that will help you keep all of your documents, facts and wishes in one easy-to-find place. His template is called, From Here to Hereafter: Everything My Family Needs to Know.

Information on finances, real estate, personal property, retirement, whom to contact, insurance, and final wishes can be consolidated in the sturdy binder provided. Roger's system prompts you on what information to compile. All important documents in ONE place--it's a GREAT idea and a perfect complement to LifeBio's life story questions.

Click on the link OR call Roger's company, Planner Press at 336-854-8088 x 211 to read more or to order.

Here to Hereafter keeps all of your documents, facts and wishes in one easy-to-find place.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Any death is stressful on the survivors. Not having to search for information is a gift and a blessing.
Here to Hereafter keeps your medical records in a readily available form. [Section 2]
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Those who desperately want to help you will have critical information at that critical time.
Here to Hereafter documents your financial information so it's organized and in an understandable fashion. [Section 3]
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Your loved ones will avoid countless hours reassembling your affairs and managing your estate.
Here to Hereafter keeps your insurance papers -- life, health, long-term care -- where they are locatable if you are not able to help find them. Even if you keep the thick policies stored somewhere else, you can put copies of the first pages in the Here to Hereafter binder with instructions where to find the full documents. [Section 8]
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: You can remove the possible frustration of your family by letting them know exactly what coverages you have and where the documents are.
Here to Hereafter keeps all of your real estate documents in a single location. [Section 4]
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Your executor's task will be greatly simplified -- your family will not be in turmoil searching.
Here to Hereafter allows YOU to decide who receives your "stuff"; the things you could never detail in a will. [Section 5]

Monday, November 28, 2005

Why Should I Tell My Life Story - Reason #5

Your life story will share your love. In the not-so-distant past, families may only have been separated by a few neighborhood blocks or acres. Today separation may be by states and countries. With a more transient society and constant bombardment from the media (TV seems to monopolize many family gatherings), you may feel that you just don’t have quality time to share with your loved ones anymore.

Recording memories is a lasting way to ensure future generations know what was truly important to you. Tell them that you love them—on paper so it will be there for them for years to come. Tell them your hopes for their future. Tell them what you feel is truly important about your family’s beliefs. Tell them what must endure. Help them remember—from your own words.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Eden Alternative

Found this article about Eden Alternative and copied it here, you can see the full link above.

Dr. Bill Thomas is a physician specializing in geriatrics and a crusader determined to revolutionize nursing home care. The Harvard graduate and father of five has so far "Edenized" about 300 nursing homes in the United States and a handful in Australia and Europe. He was interviewed by Dale Bell.

I'll put the American nursing home on the critical list. It's not going to make it. It's a relic. It's a left-over vestige of a factory, assembly-line approach to care that is just not going to meet the needs of elders in the 21st century. And in fact, I'll do everything that I can to see that, as we move forward, nursing homes cease to exist.
Why do you think nursing homes have to be unplugged?

I'll put the American nursing home on the critical list In America there are almost 300 million horror stories that people can tell about nursing homes. Everyone's got a story to tell. And the reason there are all these stories to be told is because the nursing home is a relic. The nursing home is supposedly a place for care, but it really becomes a factory of service, where people are provided with services and the gentle art of caring is set aside. And that's a real tragedy for millions of American families.
When you're looking at the American elderly population, the population that needs care, what percentage of those are now in nursing homes? And how should that change?
Right now in America there are about 1.7 million people living in a nursing home. And any adult American who reaches the age of 65 has a 50% chance of spending time, significant time, in a nursing home. That's a vast proportion of our society. Let me give you an example. The only other segment of our society that is more likely to be institutionalized are convicted criminals. We have about 2 million people living in prisons. So here we have a society that uses an institutional pattern for convicted and violent felons and our frail mothers and fathers. And that is a losing proposition in the 21st century.
What has to be done? What does our society have to do to change that paradigm?
The first thing we've got to do is to get away from the idea that there is a long-term care industry. Just the words "long-term care industry" make me want to throw up. Long-term caring for our elders is not an industry. And making it an industry perverts the real value in this. So, first thing we got to do is move decisively away from care as a big business, as a business opportunity.
And I think we can do that by moving away from the idea that care for frail elders has to be localized in buildings we call nursing homes. I think what we're going to see going forward is care for elders being diffused through the community in different places, in different communities, in different ways.

Look at what the boomers did to childbirth The baby boomer generation is coming. And the irresistible force of the baby boomers is about to collide with the unmovable object of the nursing home. And there's going to be explosive change that comes from this collision. The boomers will not leave one stone upon another. They will completely wipe out the nursing home we remember from the 20th century.
What will be in its place? Well, best way I think of understanding this is, when the baby boomers were kids there were three flavors of ice cream, and that was it. And when they got done with ice cream, there's a thousand flavors of ice cream. Well, right now there's just a few flavors of long-term care for the elderly. When they get done, there will be a thousand flavors. And that's the way it should be.
How long is it going to take for this kind of thing to happen?
Well, you know what, a nice way of thinking about what's going to happen to long-term care ... look at child birth. Look at what the boomers did to child birth. When they came along, cigar-chomping obstetricians used to strap women down with leather restraints and pull the baby out. When the boomers got done with 'em, 15 years, 20 years, family birthing centers, jacuzzis, lactation consultants ... Poof! The whole thing was different. So I actually foresee a revolution that's going to be ramping up in the next 2, 3 years and then over the next 10 to 15 years will radically change the approach to elder care in America.
What is the Eden Alternative? Why do we even need to know about it?
Well, in the early 1990's I took a job as a physician at a nursing home, and I took that job because I thought that it would be a break from my real work as a ER doctor. And I fell in love with the work. And I fell in love with the people. And I came to detest the environment in which that care was being provided.

There are almost 300 million horror stories about nursing homes The nursing home takes good, good, loving, caring people and plugs them into an institutional factory-like arrangement. And it's no good. So what I want is an alternative to the nursing home, an alternative to the institution. And the best alternative I can think of is a garden. I believe that every elder should have a chance to live in a garden. I believe that, when we make a place that's worthy of our elders, we make a place that enriches all of our lives, caregiver, family member and elder alike. So the answer the Eden Alternative provides is a reinterpretation of the environment elders live in, from an institution to a garden. That's why we call it the Eden Alternative.
What are the other components, what are the other criteria of the Eden Alternative?
Number one, the organization begins to treat the staff they way they want the staff to treat the elders. Very important. Long-term care has a bad history of treating its staff one way, not so nice, and expecting the staff to treat the elders a different way.
Number two, the organization brings decision making back to the elders and to the people around the elders, so that they have a voice in their, in their daily routine and their life. Crucial, crucial to re-injecting meaning into peoples' lives.
Third, they've taken real steps to make the place where people live rich in plants and animals and children. I want the people to be confused when they walk through the door. What kind of place is this? I mean, there's kids running around and playing and there's dogs and there's cats and there's birds, and there's gardens and plants and ... I want them to be confused. This can't be a nursing home. Right. It's an alternative to the nursing home.
And finally, there has to be a commitment to ongoing growth. We believe in the Eden Alternative that even the frailest, most demented, most feeble elder can grow. And that the young person who maybe has a difficult home life or is living on the edge of poverty, they can grow. That the organization commits itself to human growth. And those words, human growth, nursing home, they've never gone together before and with Eden Alternative they can.

Every elder should have a chance to live in a garden We need to change the way we think about and care for our elders, because by not honoring our elders we damage ourselves. We damage the very fabric of our communities and our society and our families. We do damage to people of all ages when we fail to honor and care for the frailest and chronic, most chronically ill among us. It's a bad habit which leads to bad things in other parts of our society.
We need to be concrete about it. If we want to improve life for everybody in our society, one of the very best places to begin is changing how we think about, care for and honor our elders. That thread, if you trace it all the way back, is woven through the whole context of our, our social life, our families, our churches, our communities. If we can master the art of caring for our elders, we can make a better society for everybody to live in.
More about The Eden Alternative ...
A Nursing Home Alternative NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Feb. 27, 2002 Edenalt.com The Eden Alternative's official Web site (outside link)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Halloween Memories

When I was a child, we lived in a small suburban neighborhood. One father who lived down the street started at his house about 6:00 on Halloween night with his own children and headed for his next-door neighbor. After trick or treating there he picked up their children and proceeded toward the next home. He continued that way until he had gathered aall of the neighborhood children. It was really exciting as we waited for him to arrive at our home where my three brothers and I waited anxiously to join the group. Trick or Treating was fun and safe. We had a great time!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ethical Wills

What is an Ethical Will?


Ethical wills are a way to share your love with family and close friends. Think of an ethical will as a heartfelt letter describing what truly matters most in your life. An ethical will passes on life lessons, values, joys, prayers, hopes, and dreams for present and future generations.

Unlike a Last Will and Testament or a Living Will, an ethical will is NOT a legal document. An ethical will describes your treasures of the heart, not your treasures. !

Why should you write your ethical will?

Quite simply, there is no one else like YOU! You have incredible wisdom and experience to share—no matter what your age or background. Your ethical will has the potential to affect multiple generations perhaps even hundreds of years from now. Therefore, an ethical will is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children and grandchildren.

Once you complete your free ethical will using our tool below, it is important to put your ethical will in a safe place—someplace where those you love will be sure to find it someday (perhaps with your Last Will and Testament). You may also want to share your ethical will with your family and friends at the time you write it. An ethical will certainly can help in communicating how you really feel and it may be a great conversation starter.

Free Ethical Will Template



www.lifebio.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Why Should I Tell My Life Story? Reason #4

Your children and grandchildren (even if you don't even have kids or grandkids yet) need your life story to preserve their legacy. Children (especially grown children) will gain strength and wisdom from reading the life experiences and memories of their parents and grandparents. They don’t just want your life stories recorded; they need them to be recorded.

Within your story is the story of the men and women that shaped your life. Within your story are your memories of your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Without your recollections of these important people, the next generations will never know them. That would be a shame.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Why Should I Tell My Life Story. Reason #3

See the big picture and learn about you! You have accomplished many things during your time on earth. Do you realize what you have been through? Life review through a tool like www.lifebio.com helps you recognize the joys and challenges you have experienced at different stages of life. You will gain a new “big picture” perspective on where you’ve come from and where you are going. You might learn some new things about yourself that could affect the way you live the rest of your life. You will also have the opportunity to share history from your own perspective—definitely more interesting than a history book.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Why Should I Tell My Life Story? Reason #2

Reason #2 - You do have something to say and you can say it.

My father thought he had nothing to say. However, with just a few questions about his childhood and with my pen in hand to write down his answers, the “Life on the Farm” excerpt below was generated. I think it is interesting to read about my dad’s morning chores, his bed, and his breakfast. I think my children and grandchildren are going to appreciate it too.

Life on the Farm

My father was born in 1943 in Platea, Pennsylvania. As a boy, he began his days by bringing in wood, firing up the furnace, or feeding the chickens, pigs, or the milk cows, Elsie and Caboss. They had a barn made out of cardboard and wood where they kept the cows and calves. Dad always loved the animals, and they all had names.

There was no running water in the house until my dad was at least in his older teens. He and his brothers and sisters would walk, about a quarter mile, to get water from the spring over the hill. They visited the outhouse. Baths were given occasionally in a metal tub, but dad avoided them as much as possible.

Dad described his bed in the 1940s and 1950s as a "straw tick" bed. This was a sheet that could be stuffed with straw and then placed on exposed wire box springs. Every so often the straw would be changed in their mattresses. All seven kids had straw tick beds. Dad says they were comfortable.

Breakfast was a big meal. The Payne Family would have eggs, oatmeal, blackberry pancakes, or blackberry dumplings. Grandma canned meat, tomatoes, blackberries, peaches, pears, apples, plums, and more. Grandma would also make apple butter at home. The kids would churn butter by hand. Dad doesn't like butter today, he says, probably because he had to churn it so much as a kid. They used lard from the pigs for cooking.

He had good handmade shirts sewn from flour sacks (with flowers on them!), store-bought pants, and Red Wing high top shoes (not sneakers). He said that they always had good shoes no matter how little they had. Again, things weren't perfect, but that's the way life was. Dad says it wasn’t such a bad life. I’m glad I asked.


Keep it mind that you don’t have to write like your old high school English teacher or Shakespeare to say what you want to say. Short, direct sentences are just fine. Remember the details from the events of your life. Recall what you saw, heard, smelled, tasted, or felt during that moment.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Why Should I Tell My Life Story? Reason #1

Reason #1 - Each day of life is truly a gift.

I have had numerous people tell me through the years that the reason they aren’t going to tell their life story is because, “I’m not done living yet.” Well, life is unpredictable. It is important for us to seize the day to write at least a heartfelt letter—--preferably, a more complete life story before it’s too late. This needs to be done whether you are 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, or 100+.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans' Stories

It's Veteran's Day...a day that reminds of us the sacrifices of so many men and women. It's also a day that reminds me of the legacy that is lost when veterans' stories are not recorded.

I've created a way to help record veterans' stories and there are no barriers to getting 10 books of memories and experiences completed by December 23, 2005. This is the greatest gift to give your family and close friends. The only problem is that I now only have time for 5 more people to sign up. Read more by clicking on the link...

Thank you veterans for your service to our country.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

AgeWellNow

LifeBio would like to welcome AgeWellNow with Dr. Alicia Stanton. Dr. Stanton will be providing insight and information in the upcoming LifeBio newsletters on aging. LifeBio is looking forward to working with Dr. Alicia Stanton.

There is no one else like you.

LifeBio
You are unique. You are the only one who can describe the people, times, and places that your children and grandchildren will want to know about. Even if they aren't even a bit curious today, I believe that someday they will want to know what it was like when you were a little boy or little girl. They will appreciate your memories of your parents and grandparents. Take this opportunity to tell them.

Writing your life story is also a good time to make sure you express your love. It will be a gift to your family for years and perhaps centuries to come.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Trick or Treat...the day after

The kids had a great time Trick or Treating last night. They shared some Butterfingers with me--my favorite. It brought to mind one of the funniest things that ever happened back in Erie, Pennsylvania, my hometown. My sister, brothers, and I were still all living at home at the time.

One Halloween we dressed my sister up as a scarecrow and carried her out and sat her in a chair in the front yard. The neighborhood boys had no idea that she was inside the newspaper and big clothes and paperbag face. They sat on the dummy in the chair and asked where my sister was as they stood around for about an hour. She didn't move. Then, when she could stand it no longer (and the suspense was killing me too), my sister rose up out of the chair and you should have seen the looks on their faces! Just once...we got something over on the neighbor boys. That was a memorable day!

How 'bout your most memorable Halloween? Favorite costume? Funny story?