The World’s population is aging, and in most countries, people are living longer than ever before. In fact, it won’t be long before 20-35 percent of Western-culture population will be older than the age of 65 and increasing numbers will live into their eighties and nineties.
For many of us, particularly Expats, those extra years will be years of good health and active retirement life. However, for some those may be years of decreased mental and physical capacity; which can mean losing the ability to make decisions about our health care, finances and the stuff we leave behind.
That raises three important questions:
- How do we make sure our healthcare and end-of-life wishes are followed when we can’t speak for ourselves?
- How do we pick someone we trust to make those decisions for us?
- How can I ensure that "My Things" are in order and my wishes are carried out when I'm gone?
Live Vitally and Plan for the Future
Dying is the part of life that we don’t get a chance to practice. But we do have the opportunity to plan for this inevitable part of our lives – our legacy.
On June 23rd of 2014, at the age of 73 my lover and partner of 47 years passed away after a courageous battle with a malignant brain tumor. Mary was a woman who lived life vitally. She was a successful career woman, looked after her health – indeed she was the picture of health for 72 years. In the last thirty-five years of her life she generally spent an hour in the gym 3 days a week and, in retirement she was seen jogging the beach three days a week in Manta, Ecuador. Her mother lived in good health for 93 years.
Mary passed away at home in Manta, June 23rd, 2014.
I expected that Mary would outlive me. Many of our "estate plans" were aimed in that direction. Or more importantly, I didn't plan that Mary would go first.
Your Next Steps....
In just three years after Mary's passing we have had five friends pass away in this small community of Expats. Each of those friends had health issues for several years. None of them had made "end of life" plans. They were desperate, they were dying. Theirs loved ones were desperate. They didn't want to leave their loved ones alone. They didn't want to leave "things undone". But we know that it is best to plan in advance. Much better than planning when the inevitable event is in process!