A Majority of Americans avoid making “end of life” arrangements – to their peril


Are you prepared?

According to The Conversation Project National Survey (2013) 90% of people say that talking with their loved ones about future health care decisions is important However, only 27% actually have done so.

Healthcare professional often find themselves caring for patients who, assuming the end of life to be far in the future, have made no indication of their wishes regarding treatment options, resuscitation, or the preservation of life through artificial means.

Trying to educate patients and help them complete an advance healthcare directive in the midst of a crisis is inappropriate because they are not in an ideal state of mind to make competent decisions.

Hence it is essential that individuals and their families/caregivers act sooner than later to insure better informed decisions about their end of life and advocate the arrangements and instructions for themselves prior to an emergency situation.

The National Center for Health Statistics (2010) found that 70% of people they surveyed said they prefer to die at home, yet 76% of people die in an institution (hospital, nursing home or long-term-care facility).  Advance Care Planning therefore becomes a necessity, as the instructions and arrangements one needs for care take on a new importance when one becomes admitted to one of these institutions.

How much time might one have to make preparations?  That’s a great question.  Since only 10-15% of Americans experience a sudden death, one should assume that a period of “extended care” will be required.

I will be posting separately about Advance Directives, but want to convey the essential message that we should all have these instructions completed, and accessible to family/caregivers/first responders who need to know what you desire be done/withheld.





Mom’s Last Christmas With Us…

It was the last year that Mom was alive.  She had decorated the family Christmas Tree with care, and placed each of the ornate, and ancient decorations with great care.

She would never take that tree down, as she died suddenly, a couple of days after Christmas.

As I went about the task of dismantling the tree, following her funeral, I tried with tears in my eyes, to recall the stories she told about the origin and history of each of these precious ornaments.

I wished I had taken the time to have recorded this information, that painted a mosaic of her life, travels and interests, captured in globes of glass and pieces of ceramic and fabric.

But I didn’t, and it was a fact of life I knew I would have to live with.

The funeral Industry is changing

Overall, the trend in cremations is set to surpass the number of traditional funeral services.

Funeral homes who have typically made their living not only from the service, but also the margins they make on burial vaults, caskets, and transportation, now have to re-tool their offerings to cater to families with different needs.

Today, a family can purchase their casket or urn online, or through major retailers like Costco, Walmart and others.  Frequently, families today are opting to use the services of a funeral service provider only to conduct the cremation element, and then conducting their own memorialization once they have the cremated remains. Contributing factors are the cost and decreased household income that are driving the shift to cremation – American consumers are learning that they can save significantly if they plan ahead and without affecting the overall quality or memory of the funeral experience.

You may not have the time

It’s nice to think that each day we’re going to wake up, leave the house and come home.

But that doesn’t track to reality.

Each day many of us,

  • don’t wake up,
  • don’t wake up healthy,
  • are involved in an accident,
  • have a medical emergency,
  • are injured or
  • are killed

And when this happens, do your family, loved ones, or caregivers know what to do?

Have you taken the time to write a simple list and tell people what YOU think is important to attend to?

This list is as varied as you are.  The important thing is to have a list, and have it where (if something happens), people can find it.

And your list of “what’s important” should at least answer some basic questions people might have:


Can you say you have this today?

Hurricane Coming ! Protect what’s irreplaceable – FOR FREE

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It’s shouldn’t be Mom’s job, really….

Moms are known to have many roles in the family.

They’re expected to be guidance counselors, wardens, teachers, event planners, artistic directors, housekeepers, and chauffeurs (clearly, there are many many more).

But one responsibility that most Moms will agree that they dislike the most “finder of all things that are lost”

It’s hard enough to find gloves, phones, backpacks, keys, and such.  But when it comes to being asked where to find that permission slip, check, receipt, picture  or other document etc.  And let’s not forget those little hand written notes that nobody seems to organize, but at a moments notice want to get their hands on.

That’s why using TheOneFile makes sense.  Every one has their own account, and you can tell each member of your household, “Do it yourself!”

First Hurricane Harvey, Now Irma… IMPORTANT INFO YOU MAY NEED

Here in FL, Gulf Coast and coastal eastern US, we’re preparing for Irma.

FEMA reminds everyone to have your important documents safe. If disaster strikes, you will need them.

What is important?

The list of documents and records you will want to have is long, but will be invaluable after you have evacuated your home. You will need access to some of these items sooner than others, but all are important enough to include in your “must have” list:

Vital Records: Driver’s licenses, birth certificates, adoption papers, Social Security cards, passports, citizenship papers (such as a “green card” or naturalization documents), marriage license, divorce decrees, child custody papers, current military ID, military discharge (DD Form 214), medical and vaccination records for pets along with current photos and ID chip numbers in case you are separated.Insurance Policies: Homeowners, renters, flood, earthquake, auto, life, health, disability, long-term care; have at least the policy number and insurance company contact information for each type of coverage.

Keep Your Important Documents Safe from a Disaster.
To store the information, documents and stuff that my insurance cannot replace (pics, videos and audio of precious moments), I use www.TheOneFile.com.  It’s is totally secure, safe and free for 1st 30 days. I have peace of mind knowing that all of my important info is stored safely in the cloud.

Property Records: Real estate deeds of trust and mortgage documents (at least the two-page settlement statement provided by the title company showing the actual cost of the house and purchase expenses); rental agreement or lease; auto/boat/RV registration and titles; video, photos or a list of household inventory.Medical Information: Immunization and other medical records, prescription information (drug name and dosage), health insurance identification cards, physician names and phone numbers, powers-of-attorney for health care, and living wills.Estate planning documents: Wills, trusts, funeral instructions, powers-of-attorney, attorney names and phone numbers.Financial records: First two pages of your previous year’s federal and state tax returns, stock and bond certificates, investment records, brokerage and retirement account information, credit card, checking and savings account numbers, contact information for credit unions, banks, financial institutions, credit card companies and financial advisers.Other: Personal address book, a letter with instructions for family or friends (for use in a situation where you’re not present), backups of important computer files, a list of usernames and passwords for online accounts, a key to your safe deposit box, a recent photograph, fingerprints and dental records for each member of the household (some police stations and nonprofits fingerprint children free);, account and contact information for utilities and other services (you may have to provide a new billing address or cancel certain services), a list of important documents and where originals and copies are located.

Those who don’t have the time or ability to gather all of these documents should focus on the most important and most difficult to replace.

Stay safe folks.  If you know someone who lives in a disaster prone area, please pass this along to them.

Why planning in advance is more important than ever

Yesterday, a new investigative report on the Funeral Industry appeared entitled “You Could Pay Thousands Less For A Funeral Just By Crossing The Street” 

In fact, the industry is planning on making lots of money on because of you waiting until the last minute.

The funeral home market has many independent funeral homes, but is dominated by companies like Service Corporation International (SCI), a multibillion-dollar company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, considered to be the largest owner of funeral homes and cemeteries in the world.

SCI CEO Tom Ryan told investors: “Think about society today. We are in a hurry, right? Everybody is on the clock … What we find is when we deliver these packages, people tend to spend more money because they’re buying more products and services.”

Although an unpopular topic, it makes common sense while we are still alive, to document the wishes and arrangements we want to occur at the time of our death.  When our loves ones or caregivers have this information already in place, they can be better “shoppers” for funeral services.

TheOneFile, the pioneer in secure organized storage, was created specifically to help people record these arrangements.

Many of us have had to attend to the final arrangements for a friend or loved one that didn’t leave instruction on what kind of arrangements they preferred, or perhaps had already made.

Why would anyone not want to leave this kind of information for others?  We never know what the days ahead may hold for us…