The HAINES System™️ – Household Documents

Posted on March 3, 2017 by Tanya

This second section is for Household Documents. It includes all the paperwork needed for your home – insurance policies, vehicle information, utilities, memberships and so forth. As with the first section, there is a comprehensive form to use listing all the possible documents you may have or need to have access to. There is also space to record other vital details you would like noted. This could be contact information for your insurance agent or property details (primary home, secondary home, vacation home, rentals…).

If you think about it, do you know right off where all of these documents are? Do you have the most current versions? Is your agent still the same person with the same contact information or have they left the business? Do you have an inventory of your household goods, including all of your technology? This worksheet will help ensure you can answer these questions as you need.

The next section will be for Legal Documents.

The HAINES System – Personal Documents

Posted on February 3, 2017 by Tanya

Could your family find your important documents if you were unable to communicate? The greatest gift you can leave them is peace of mind.

Do you have your military papers, insurance information or social security cards easily accessible? Take the time to get your documents gathered, organized and then maintained – for your peace of mind and that of your family’s. This first section of the five included (Personal, Household, Legal, Financial and Medical) covers the items we all need – education papers, passport information, military documents and so forth.

Every one of the five sections has a comprehensive list of documents for that topic. The worksheets can be used to track your collection as well as to provide contact information or to make other notes you need. 

The easy way to do this is to utilize The HAINES System, The Blueprint for Organizing Your Important Documents. For us, HAINES stands for Having All Important Notes Executed and Secured. The goal is to help guide you through the process of accomplishing this needed task. Since it is one most do not care to address, we have taken the difficulty out of it. We have taken the research out of it. We have taken organizing the structure out of it. All you need to do is to follow the book.

Next month, the post will be about the Household documents.

NHDD – 3 months away

Posted on January 16, 2017 by Jeremy LeRay

nhdd-logo-square

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) aims to help people across the U.S. understand the value of advance healthcare planning.

Do you have your living will and powers of attorney completed? Do your loved ones know where they are located? What about your other important documents? The greatest gift you can leave your family is your having planned for when you can no longer communicate.

If you don’t know where to begin, look at The HAINES System™️. This is the blueprint for organizing all of your important papers. Having All Important Notes Executed and Secured. With this system, we use five major categories to help you get organized: Personal, Household, Financial, Legal and Medical.

The important thing is that you talk with your loved ones and that you organize your papers now when you are well and ready. Then, you can relax knowing you understand the value of advance healthcare planning!

 

 

 

How to (finally) organize your life!

Posted on January 5, 2017 by Tanya

After years in the works, I have officially launched The HAINES System™️. This binder is THE blueprint for organizing your personal papers and will guide you through the process of gathering, organizing and maintaining your important documents.

It is divided into five sections to make organizing easy:

          1. Personal
          2. Household
          3. Legal
          4. Financial
          5. Medical

 

What this binder does is what we typically cannot (or will not) do on our own. It guides you through the process of gathering, organizing and maintaining your personal documents. We all have lots of paperwork but few have them organized. Could you find what you need in an emergency? Would your spouse or other loved ones be able to gain access to your bills or advance directives if you were unable to tell them how?

I am honoring the launch of The HAINES System™️ by sharing some tips to organize your life and getting your papers organized. Begin the year with peace of mind! So, even if you don’t know where to start or tend to procrastinate, go through this process with me and together, we will get you on the right, organized path.

Always remember, if you do not want these tips that will help you get your life organized or you already have what you need in the way you and your loved ones need, feel free to unsubscribe below. I hope you will find value in these posts – for you or someone else.

 Here is your first tip when it comes to getting your papers organized. As you have papers come into your house, immediately pull out what can be recycled/trashed, what should be shredded and only keep what you actually need. For example, when you get your monthly mortgage statement (if you still receive it in the mail), take out the extra papers they include and put them in the recycle bin with the outer envelope and the envelope to mail your check back if you pay online. Then, you have only the statement itself to keep. File it in a file folder labeled for the year. Every paper you get through the year that you may need to retain for tax purposes, put in this file. I keep a file box where we process our mail. This way, it is very easy to do the steps above as the yearly tax file folder is in this box. It does not get put aside and likely lost or cluttering up other areas of your house.

 Next month, I will provide a breakdown of the first section in the binder, the Personal section. The papers we need to have accessible (social security card, passwords, insurance records, veterinarian details) and information we need to have written down for our loved ones (employer’s contact information and children’s schools in the event of an emergency), plus a lot more!

 

New year…new opportunities!

Posted on January 1, 2017 by Tanya

 

 

With a new year comes all the usual commitments to making and keep resolutions. We all do it. We make them and they last for a few weeks if we are lucky. So, what happens? Why are we unable to maintain them? It’s simple. They are not reasonable. Here are some ideas for creating resolutions that you will keep:

  • pick just one thing you want to do differently in 2017;
  • break it into at least four parts;
  • write it down – one part every few months; and,
  • enjoy meeting your goals!

Here is an example:

  • I want to improve my sales and earn more money in 2017;
  • 1 – CRM, 2 – mobile office, 3 – holiday card list and 4 – re-assess;
  • by April 1, I will utilize my CRM and schedule time every week to follow up with potential and current clients, by July 1, I will get my mobile office organized so I am always prepared to make a sale; by October 1, I will make my list for holiday cards and order them (great way to stay in touch and to re-connect with people); and by January 1, will re-assess my goals for 2017 and make similar goals for 2018.
  •  CELEBRATE!!

By breaking up your goal like this, it makes it manageable and more likely you will achieve what you set out to do. Try it this year. If you have traditionally made resolutions that you have not kept, why not try something different this year? Let me know how it goes for you. I know you can do it!

Happy 2017 to you!

The Flickering Light – Moving On

Posted on April 15, 2016 by Tanya

Again, in circumstances of the tragic loss of life and of young lives, this is a very different situation. When someone is old and sick and dies, it is not easy, but more acceptable to be OK with moving on. We all know the first year to 13 months is the most critical for the living. It is all about getting through the first birthday and holidays and seasons without the person. The second anniversaries are a little less painful, but will always retain some semblance of sadness and even regrets and frustrations.

For those caregivers who devoted their lives to the one who died, the suddenness of not having those same obligations and restrictions on their life will be shocking. One day things are as they progressively became and the next, none of that is needed any more. Care givers need the opportunity to decompress and reprogram their lives and energy and reclaim themselves. After months and years of watching and tending to someone who gradually dies before you, it would not be normal to not feel some sense of loss and abandonment and need for structure again.

A year after Fred died, we were still thinking we could hear him or caught ourselves getting ready to ask about him or to run check on him. This is fading over time and as my parents have now been able to go and do things freely they could not before, it has given them their lives back. Caring for him sure took a lot out of them, but now that he is gone, they have no regrets for doing the right thing in the right way. But, make no mistake about it they are relieved to no longer have that burden on them at their ages – and rightfully so.

For my mother-in-law, her resetting will take more time. She has cared for her husband for almost two decades and watched the slow decline and increased isolation that came with my father-in-law’s very steady yet gradual failing. Only when certain he was OK with me being there would she leave the house and take some time for herself. She, too, needs a life and deserves the joy of retirement and being a grandmother and still being a vibrant, engaging woman. This is what we will work to ensure she finds again and on her terms for her new life.

The Flickering Light – Healing When the Light Goes Out Part 2

Posted on April 13, 2016 by Tanya

Having a conversation about what happens in they dying process (when it is slow and not under sudden circumstances), or talking about end of life wishes is near about impossible to have with many people. We just don’t like to think about these things and we become uncomfortable with the topic. However, since we will all be there at some point, it is useless to not discuss. In fact, it is selfish to not be prepared. You only leave heart-wrenching decisions to those you love and they will forever second-guess their decisions.

When the light finally does flicker off and the person has died, it may be a shock and seem completely unreal. This is especially true for those who have witnessed a very long and slow dying process. It is amazing how suddenly you realize that you can no longer ask them a question or share a joke or sit with them. This is rather startling for quite a while.

The Flickering Light – Healing When the Light Goes Out

Posted on April 5, 2016 by Tanya

Though prepared, when death comes, it is still a surprise and unreal moment for the living. When someone is old and sick it is a bit more acceptable and a bit easier to process. When it is someone young and sudden and tragic, there is no acceptance and the process must be grueling for the families and friends. Grief is grief no matter how you measure it or what you call it. Pain is pain and we all experience it differently.

Much like “the long good-bye” common among Alzheimer’s patients, the dying process for some is a long good-bye as well. It may be more of a physical loss and physical strain than a mental or emotional loss. It is still a process and it is still difficult. Speaking only for the living and not the dying, seeing someone gradually fade away and waste away and revert back to infantile needs is nothing short of humbling.

So when the time comes and the person dies, it is a shock. After years of gradual failings and years of perking back up time and time again, it is unreal to realize that the time has finally come and the person is actually gone. They are dead. Never to talk or walk or love again as we once knew it and them.

We like to think we are good with this and intellectually we probably are. The reality is that most people are incredibly uncomfortable talking about death and dying and will use euphemisms to describe it if the topic is addressed at all. Many prefer to say things like: “he passed” or “she as crossed over” or “she is better now” or “he is finally at peace”. Though they may seem comforting and more kind, the cruel reality is none of this helps those who witnessed the slow decline and love the person through it.

The Flickering Light – When the Light Begins to Flicker Part 2

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Tanya

But the flickering in the life of GG was quite different than that in my father-in-law. Derl was well until at age 66 diagnosed with prostate cancer. Surgery revealed the cancer had broken out of his prostate. Because the cancer was in his body, we were told that he had, at best, two to five years and certainly not more than ten. He took the treatments we knew would render him unable to walk eventually, but that was so far down the road and was worth the calculated risk. He went from walking, to using a walker, a scooter, a wheelchair and finally he was unable to move on his own and simply went from his recliner to his bed and nowhere else any more.

This process took place over two decades. Well past the time frame we were provided, he continued on and on and on. It was made all the more difficult for him and my mother-in-law and husband to watch because he had been a mailman and walked his route for 26 years. Now, he could not get out of a chair on his own.

When it was finally determined that there was nothing more that could be done and he had fought a good fight and it was time to stop tormenting him with hospital visits and needles, he was moved into hospice care. At this point, we were told he had weeks to months. Of course, given his history, we knew already that he would likely be the longest living hospice patient.

While we were hoping for this longevity and more time with him, his continued health challenges were wearing on my mother-in-law the most. For her, too, there was no end. But after almost sixty years of marriage and total devotion, she was simply doing what she had promised to do. And she did it with quiet grace and compassion.

As the first weeks and months passed, he did begin to come and go differently. Knowing that he no longer needed extraordinary care allowed us to give him what he wanted to eat, when he wanted it, and it provided us with a bit more of a time frame in which to be certain to visit with him as he wanted. Derl never did like a lot of noise or activity and simply enjoyed watching sports and old Westerns on television. Or, he would read the local community and state newspapers for hours on end. (And none of us could ever figure out how he unfolded those papers in the way he did!)

At first there was no real difference in his demeanor, color, life, or light. Derl had good days and bad days, but not unlike most of us every day of our own lives. And in the previous years, this had been his pattern – though he was increasingly less independent and eventually nearly immobile, he had times when he his spirits were more engaging balanced with time when he would not say anything. He had already endured bouts of fevers and infections that would be followed by a sudden state of wellbeing. We were accustomed to this up and down, in and out, good and bad health, attitude, and prognosis.

There were, however, little things that we all began to notice about him and realized they were reflective of a real and true decline in his health. Such a hearty soul, Derl was also accustomed to a bout of something, he would be admitted to the hospital and after a tune-up, he would be good to go again. The periods of these upticks became shorter and they were more frequently occurring. He also did not bounce back as completely as he had the previous time. His progression was slow, steady, and ever so faintly downward.

What really struck us all is that he, like Fred, was never a conversationalist and certainly never offered reciprocal feedback to what others shared with him. Not once before this time did he ever thank any one for any thing. It’s not that he did not care or that he was not appreciative, he just had never learned these social skills. But, he began to say “thank you”. And quite often. He told people thank you for visiting, for cooking meals, for being there and caring for him. We believe this is his way of finally beginning the process of saying good-bye.

For two men from about the same generation but who led completely different lives and did not communicate, to begin expressing their appreciation for little things was fascinating. We never expected to hear such words and were grateful for them. The relationships began to change and there was more intimacy. But this too would come and go. There were glimmers of the people they once were sprinkled among the times when they were more in tune with their daily experiences. It was a flickering of the light of life – off and on, coming and going, dim and bright – a process.

The Flickering Light – When the Light Begins to Flicker

Posted on March 22, 2016 by Tanya

It is incredibly challenging to care for someone who is dying, much less to be the person dying. Neither is an ideal way to live and none of us know how long the process will take for us. It is the unknown that often makes the caring more difficult. Since we do not know what will happen and how long it will take, we are in a perpetual state of waiting.

My GG, Fred, was 93 when he died and yet he had been ready to go for at least a year before that, and likely much longer. Upon turning 89, he chose to not renew his driver’s license, turned his truck keys over to my Dad, and said simply he was done. That was it. No discussion, no explanation, no tears, no nothing. He knew my parents would transport him as he needed and would get what he wanted and needed when he was not up to going out. But what began to happen after that was where the struggle began.

Fred no longer had a will to live and said as much. He was tired, uncomfortable, and missed my Grandmother. Later in life he had an old World War II injury received in combat that began to cause him more pain. It was a physical reminder of the terror he endured in the Pacific. Though he wanted to forget that experience and enjoy his memories of my Grandmother, it was ever-present and truly a throbbing alert to his past.

He began to sleep a lot and no longer had any interest in watching the NASCAR races on TV or completing the NY Times crossword puzzle or reading books and magazines. This is a man who while he lived in California for most of his adult life, he planned his annual vacations based on the NASCAR races and would drive East to see the ones he wanted. For him to hold no interest in these events was significant.

GG became incredibly compliant with activities he had not previously cared to engage in – bathing, hair cuts and shaves, changing clothes, and eating. Months before he was clear when he did not want to participate in any and there was little we could do other than encourage him. Then, he began to seemingly just give up and give in. He did not fight us or resist or complain. He just participated as he could.

Though never one for much conversation, GG could not do much of it any more. His hearing had been going for some time and he never felt he needed to get hearing aids. He was not inclined to spend the money nor did he see a need for them. It did not matter that the rest of us had to yell for him to hear us; he did not feel he needed them, so he did not get new ones when the old ones no longer worked. We resorted to a notebook to ensure we were still communicating. We wrote him simple notes he could verbally respond to since he could no longer write well.

This note process worked well. We would ask his preference for meals or if he felt warm enough. Sometimes we would tell him that his great grandkids were there and would come see him. Other times we had to share with him the news of his daughter-in-law’s death from cancer and his neighbor friend’s sudden death. These are not the sorts of things you want to dialogue with via a notebook, but it was the only way to ensure he was still engaged in his life – the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the pleasant and the difficult.

Physically we noticed that GG began to “shrivel up”, was cold all the time, needed less food and water, and was tremendously unsteady walking around his little apartment. He was simply tired. It was more difficult for him to sit up for a haircut or he would fall asleep at the dining table. He wanted only to stay in bed or in his recliner and sleep. Having been a very astute, intelligent, active man, it was clear that his light was flickering less brightly and less frequently. The light was fading for him.

Emotionally, he began to tell us how much he appreciated what our family was doing to take care of him. This is something GG never would have done in his prime. He rarely offered compliments or gratitude. In fact, he was often an unpleasant little man to be around. I described him as a “tightly wrapped little German man” – at just over five feet tall and with an intense, technical, directed kind of mind, he was not one for banal chit chat or for time with others who were not as bright as he was. He had no tolerance for those around him he did not approve of and lived on his terms regardless of the others in his life and their needs.

GG was not an easy man to love. Early memories were not pleasant and he was never the warm, engaging granddad we all want and some have. However, as he aged and had few people willing to tend to him as he dictated, he became a shell of who he had been. Seeing someone age so profoundly was striking and humbling.

He became and old man who was sad, limited in his abilities, and quite simply in need of help. GG missed my grandmother and I think he missed the opportunities he’d had to better connect with others. He was no longer the defiant, self-assured, strong-willed individual he had once been and was dependent on others for the most minor of human needs. It was a remarkable transformation and one deserving of good care and love as he was willing to accept it.

The process was slow. Once he began to fail, it was just a few years until he died. But for my parents, GG’s primary caregivers, there was no end in sight. Not that they wanted him to die, but that there was simply no end in sight. They were in their late 70’s by the time he died and they too were tired. GG did not suffer from any certain ailment that would offer some phantom timeline. He was not afflicted with any acute bouts of illness we could better anticipate his future health. GG just kept going and though he was flickering out a little at a time, he did continue to have some light in him.

The days and weeks were not difficult with him as he was gracious and accepting of whatever my parent’s needed of him. He ate what my Mom cooked (which he always liked) and never complained about any meals or had issues with his living arrangements. But, there was never any end date. My parents had simply NO clue how long this was going to last and were fearful that it would wear them down too much too fast. My sisters and I helped as we could and were also concerned about our parents, but we were simply the “fill in”. Our parents were those with the day-to-day 24/7/365 care with no end in sight. They were the ones who did not feel comfortable leaving their own home for a short trip away, even when we were there with GG. Our parents were truly dedicated and did the right thing by GG for the end of his life. And he knew it was a gift.

GG had moments when we felt he was doing well and seemed to perk up a bit. His light would flicker on and even at times it was bright and clear. Then he would go back into himself and we wondered how much longer he would live. It was this flickering that made things challenging for those around him and no doubt for him as well. He had good days and bad days, up days and down days, happy days and sad days. He too did not see an end in sight.

Next Page »