Having your affairs in order important

It's not a matter of IF your family will need access to your personal, medical, legal and financial information; it's a matter of WHEN

It’s highly plausible that some readers assume I’m extremely well organized and that every file in my house has a home.

If my husband is reading this, he’ll be laughing out loud. Anyone who works with me will also have a smirk on their face.

Theoretically, I fully understand the importance of filing and keeping all those critical papers, (like tax receipts), in an orderly fashion. Practically, well, I get bored very quickly and have the reputation of being an excellent starter on projects until something shinier comes into my line of vision.

In fact, I remember waiting impatiently as my Nana would meticulously keep her financial records in perfect balance and deal with every single piece of mail on the day it landed in her mailbox. Looking over her bifocals she would sternly advise me to always have all my important documents in one spot and in order. At 12 years old, I had a hard time coming up with a single document in my life that required filing.

Of course that’s all changed now that I’m married and have a child. 0I have many more morbid thoughts than I used to. I worry more about my daughter’s future if I became ill or died. Whether you are 42 years old or 98 years young, having ‘one’s affairs in order’ provides yourself and others with peace of mind as well as better care during a health emergency or through a long-term illness.

Are any of you wondering if I ‘walk the walk?’  Let’s just say it’s a ‘walk’ in progress.

Owning a small business, managing a home, maintaining some semblance of order through an eternal renovation and keeping up with a busy and active seven-year-old causes various delays in my personal record keeping.

It does, however, make me cringe because it was this very issue that made my family’s life so stressful and frustrating when Dad died. We literally couldn’t find anything — such as key personal identification documents, his will (which never existed!) and passwords for online banking. The amount of time my siblings spent rummaging through drawers looking for vital paperwork was mind-boggling.

The reality is it’s not a matter of IF your family will need access to your personal, medical, legal and financial information; it’s a matter of WHEN. Ask yourself this question, “If I were no longer able to speak for myself, due to some form of injury, dementia or illness, how easy would it be for other family members to find my important documents?”

You might be asking yourself, “What type of information is most important?” or “Where should I keep all my critical information?”

Join us for our next column as we answer those questions and more. If you are looking for a little motivation in organizing your care planning documents, know that you aren’t alone. I’ll be right there with you. If you are that someone that is completely organized and efficient with your personal record keeping, I applaud you. Stay with us on the sidelines and cheer us on!

Wendy Johnstone is a gerontologist and is the founder of Keystone Eldercare Solutions. Her column runs in the Comox Valley Record every second Thursday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

James Hutchison was sentenced in court for a robbery from April 2019. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Accused sentenced for early morning robbery in Courtenay

Hutchison gets credit for 218 days in custody but given 120 more days in jail

Tidal Café owners Blythe and Kurt Reimer (left) and Toscano’s head chef and general manager Tristan Taylor have been sharing deck space to help both businesses during the expanded COVID public health order restrictions that ban indoor dining. Photo by Terry Farrell
Neighbouring Comox restaurants share patios for mutual benefit during COVID restrictions

Two restaurants in Comox are working together to help ease the burden… Continue reading

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
A little girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

John Ludlow is making leis for sale for $20 each, with all proceeds to be donated to the Comox Valley Transition Society. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Celebrating kindness, joy and helping others on Lei Day

Ludlow is making leis for sale with proceeds to be donated to the Comox Valley Transition Society

Cumberland is finalizing its tax rate bylaw for the year, which will see a 4.93 per cent increase. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland moving ahead on 4.93 tax hike

Residential rates’ hike was less than projected during planning stages

A peacock struts by a pair of lamb siblings at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, which remains closed to the public. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
VIDEO: Victoria petting zoo optimistic about future after 13 months closed

Public helps non-profit Beacon Hill Children’s Farm with nearly $100,000 influx

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

LUSH Valley is seeking help from local governments to help restart its Good Food Box program for vulnerable citizens. File photo
Courtenay to determine contribution to Good Food Box program

The City of Courtenay is in the process of determining an appropriate… Continue reading

FILE – RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by as protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion block rail lines, in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, November 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Very scary’: B.C. travel rules too vague, shouldn’t involve police, civil liberties group says

BCCLA said that speaking with communities could have avoided top-down approach

A man accused of choking a 15-year-old in his tent in Beacon Hill Park Tuesday night has been arrested by Victoria police. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man accused of choking, sexually exploiting 15-year-old in Victoria tent arrested

Police arrested the 38-year-old in Beacon Hill Park Wednesday afternoon

Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)
It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge

This Earth Day, Ocean Legacy Foundation is launching a free educational platform to educate the public about plastic pollution

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Most Read