Are you Ready To Go?

By Tom Sbarra


We plan meticulously for major passages in our lives, birthdays, weddings, career changes, home buying.  Should we put as much thought into planning our final days? Neighborhood Falmouth and the Falmouth Senior Center think you should. Here is why:

Obviously we won’t be around to make decisions after we die. Someone else can make those decisions or we can make them ahead of time.  Often family members are left to pick up the pieces when someone dies, especially if it is sudden. This is potentially a problem, particularly if the family members have not heard you state clearly what you want and don’t want. This can lead to disagreements that, in the emotionally charged time when a loved one dies, can be downright brutal and lead to long lasting hurt feelings. 

Perhaps even more importantly, how would you like to be treated if you become incapacitated and are unable to speak for yourself? This can go on for a long time and can affect your family in many emotional and financial ways.

It is much easier for you to make these judgments ahead of time than to leave it to your grieving family to sort out. Emotionally distraught family cannot be expected to make clear-headed decisions, or to automatically know your desires.

Clearly stating your wishes ahead of time can both get you what you want and steer clear of family disputes.  Folks who have done this report feeling more relaxed in their final days knowing that plans are set and the family can concentrate on caring for you rather than questions and arrangements.

If you have little or no family likely to survive you, it is even more important to have these issues sorted out so your friends and caregivers, who have been devoted to you can feel confident in caring for you.

Neighborhood Falmouth and the Falmouth Senior Center have teamed up to provide a series of seminars that will cover all aspects of the surprisingly complicated planning for your late life care and end of life. We have brought together local experts in health care, funeral planning, legal, financial, and spiritual preparation to help you put your house in order.  You will learn how to have a conversation with your family about these emotional issues. Participants will receive step by step guidance on how to create legal documents to ensure that your wishes can be honored even if you cannot speak for yourself. Health care professionals will demonstrate how to communicate these wishes to your doctors.  Experts will share ways to prepare financially for your own death and how to preserve as much as you can for your family.

The seminars will be the last Monday of each month from January to June 2019 at the Senior Center, and will consist of a 45-minute presentation followed by a 40-minute Q&A, and chance to get a start at putting your own wishes on paper. Sessions included in the series are:

January 28:  Are You Ready?  Starting the Conversation about Late Life and End of Life Planning.  Speakers:  Tina Soares, Cape Cod Health Care; Heather Massey, Death Café; Joseph Hawley, Cape Cod Five Trust Dept.; Patty Mello, Elder Law Attorney; Rev. Nell Fields, Waquoit Congregational Church. 

February 25: Are You Ready?  What Are Your Medical Arrangements for Late Life & End of Life?  

March 25: Are You Ready?  What Are Your Funeral Preferences for Late Life and End of Life?  

April 29: Are You Ready?  What Are Your Financial Plans for Late Life and End of Life?  

May 20: Are You Ready?  What Are Your Legal Arrangements for Late Life and End of Life?

June 25: Are You Ready?  What Are Your Spiritual Concerns for Late Life and End of Life?  What Will Your Legacy Be to Family, Friends, and Community?

Watch for announcements in this newspaper, Senior Center bulletins, the Neighborhood Falmouth newsletter, and the NF website (  Space is limited, so pre-registration is required. Anyone interested may sign up for any or all of the sessions. Call the Falmouth Senior Center at (508) 457-2562 to reserve your place. 

Over the next 6 months this will be 9 hours very well spent. It will be a gift to you and to your family.

Tom Sbarra is a volunteer and a board member of Neighborhood Falmouth.

Published 01/04/2019 Falmouth Enterprise