Tackling the Toughest Topic

Illustration of a senior and her son having a conversation over coffee.

You have a gift— a unique one, no one else can give. And your gift will enormously impact your family when they need it most. Despite this, many of us never use it.

Tackling the tough topic of our inevitable passing with the people we hold dear is the gift many hesitate to give.

Josephine N. is not one of those people. Instead of avoiding it, this 80-year-old is tackling the issues of her mortality like a CFL linebacker. She’s not morbid, nor is she on the brink of death; this Magnolia Gardens resident simply wants to make her children’s lives easier when the day finally comes.

Five years ago, Josephine lost her husband. She used her experience to shape her plans. “When you lose someone, it’s a hard time. In the midst of it, you have a lot of decisions to make and details to think about. It’s extra hard. And I want it to be less hard for my kids,” says the former Licensed Practical Nurse.

As a result, Josephine has had some hard face-to-face conversations with her three children. She is also working on a document containing all the information they will need immediately following her death.
“It wasn’t easy for me, but I want things to be easier for them when the time comes,” she shares. “The decisions I’m making—the creation of this document, and even my choice to live in Magnolia Gardens are all to make life easier for my kids.”

Take some brave steps to give the gift of support to your family members. Here are some critical pieces of information you will want to share:

  • Advance Directives regarding your health.
  • Your will and the name of your executor
  • Banking, credit card, mortgage and investment information, including account numbers and passwords.
  • A list of services that will need to be cancelled (telephone, hydro, cable TV & streaming services)
  • A list of pre-authorized payments that come out of your bank account each month.
  • Location of birth & and marriage certificates
  • Instructions for how you would like to be remembered (funeral, memorial services, scattering of ashes)
  • Details on arrangements you have with a funeral home
  • Passwords for phones, tablets, computers, email and social media.

Josephine offers excellent advice for everyone who needs to tackle the tough topic of their inevitable death: “Do it while you’re healthy when the conversation can be more casual and lighter.” And most of all, “Just get on with it.”

BONUS TIP: The BC Government provides a helpful after-death checklist.

This article originally appeared in the Senior Living Expert monthly newsletter. Subscribe to receive more helpful articles in your inbox each month.