A client and I were texting yesterday morning when she said to me that our conversation would make a good topic for my newsletter. I think she’s right. Here’s her story with names changed for privacy.
First a little background information.
Alice contacted me when the amount of paperwork that had built up became overwhelming. In addition to managing the paperwork for a household of four, Alice and her family had experienced major medical events.
Her youngest daughter had had major surgery; Alice had been hospitalized twice in a 12 month period and her mom’s dementia had required she be moved to an assisted living facility. Alice now needed to help her mom, who was a widow, manage her medical care, her finances, the home she still owned, as well as get familiar with her mom’s long-term care insurance and its benefits.
The paperwork just kept coming and soon got out of control. Alice worried that things were “slipping through the cracks”. She needed to get a handle on the influx of paperwork. She needed to organize what she wanted to keep and toss what she didn’t need; she needed a system.
Alice and I sorted through boxes and bags of paperwork. We set up systems for medical records, medical bills, and household bills for her family and her mom. We organized the assisted living facility’s contracts, care plans, activities schedule then we set up a system for the long list of “to do’s” that Alice was worried she’d forget about.
Sadly, Alice’s mom was moved to hospice status in January and in February Alice was told “it wouldn’t be long”.
To complicate the situation further, Alice’s youngest daughter Kate left in January to spend a semester studying in Italy but she would now need to return home to see her grandmother for the last time. Kate arrived home last Wednesday but because she arrived from Italy she has to self-quarantine due to Italy’s high rate of Coronavirus infections. Both Alice and Kate feel terrible about Kate not being able to see her grandmother. Alice, being the creative person she is, took Kate to see her grandmother through the exterior window of the assisted living facility. This allowed Kate to see and sing to her grandmother without putting her health in danger.
If Kate shows any symptoms of the Coronavirus Alice will also have to self-quarantine and not see her mom. Time will tell.
Alice’s husband, Tom, just got promoted at work and doesn’t want to miss work so he’s gone to a hotel until they know if Kate has the virus. The bright side of this is that Tom is allowed to see Alice’s mother.
After Alice updated me on all this yesterday morning via text she said “thankfully I was prepared for other things ahead of time which helps when more is falling apart around you!!” I was happy to hear Alice felt this way. I knew exactly what she meant. We’d pulled together all her mom’s 2019 tax paperwork so Alice was ready to go to H&R Block. Alice also had a to-do list that identified phone calls she needed to make, paperwork that needed to be completed and other items that could be done at home. She could make headway accomplishing things on her list even if she was confined to her home.
This is what being organized is all about. Because we’d put together systems to handle many aspects of Alice’s life she can now concentrate on this dilemma without worrying about losing control of the rest of her life.
Alice has experienced the value of being organized before. About one year ago her mother’s health changed requiring she be moved to a different facility. Alice needed to look for a more appropriate facility and move her mom quickly. She also needed to put her hands on the current facility’s contract. Because we had organized all the paperwork Alice knew exactly where that very important document was. She was able to transfer her mom knowing firsthand what the contract allowed and charged for mid-month departures.
There are so many aspects in life where organization is critical. How would being organized help you manage life’s unexpected events?