Using Hospice Services for Dying at Home

Preparing for end of life means coming to terms with the fact that death is part of living. How you die may not be something you decide but sometimes where you die is in your control. Hospice services can help. 

Hospice Care is a type of health care that serves to relieve pain without treating the cause for the pain. The focus of a hospice team is to provide medical, emotional, and spiritual support to families with a terminal patient – generally in their own home. 

Some of the benefits of hospice care are:

  • Ability to die at home
  • Pain management 
  • Help with ancillary medical needs 
  • Provide education
  • Offer emotional support 

Being able to be at home during the final days of life can be a helpful and comfortable thing for entire families. Being in familiar surroundings with loved ones, pets, and personal belongings can make transitioning easier than being isolated in a sterile and noisy environment like a hospital. Most everyone prefers the idea of being home rather than away when they die.

If you or a loved one has a terminal diagnosis, you are likely a candidate for palliative care and eventually hospice. Your medical provider can help you connect with a hospice team where you will create a plan and set goals for your experience. This may include things like:

  • Comfort needs
  • Direct care needs
  • Choices during transition
  • Direct support for emotional and spiritual needs 

Hospice isn’t just about direct care when you are actively dying. It begins with a terminal diagnosis. Palliative care – while not considered hospice care – is a form of treating pain and making plans before hospice takes over providing final care. You do not have to be bed ridden to get support. Your medical team will include palliative care as part of your treatment plan.  

As things progress your hospice nurse will provide assistance to you and your family to help make things less scary and as comfortable as possible. Knowing someone is there who can help and that you can be at home at such an important time makes such big difference in your peace of mind and comfort during this process. Even after you pass, your hospice support team will help your family contact your mortuary and help ready your remains for your pre-planned funeral process.  

De-Clutter Your Life; Your Family Will Thank You

You’ve spent a lifetime gathering personal belongings and acquiring the things that make your house a home. It’s hard to imagine not using them or having access to them when you need them. How many of these things have gone unused and unnoticed for a while? 


As we get older, we move past the accumulation stage of life and simply settle into living with what we have. Eventually what we have may become more than we will ever need again. It might be time to de-clutter and downsize. The more you hold on to, the more you leave behind for those you love to deal with. That’s not a very smart move. 

Aside from heirlooms and assets of value, our homes are generally filled with things that no longer serve us or we simply don’t need. At some point it makes sense to clear things out and start to streamline. Here are some practical dos and don’ts for de-cluttering your life to make things easier for your family. 

Do- Keep things of value: Your antiques, art, and family heirlooms have value. Don’t discard or give away items that are worth something financially or emotionally. 


Do- Sort through closets, drawers, and storage: These spaces tend to become black holes that contain unused and unimportant items. Tackle these spaces and reduce, recycle, and donate items you are no longer using. 

Do- Enlist your family’s help: Ask your family to help you determine what is worth keeping and what is worth letting go of. You don’t have to accept every recommendation they have but their impartial advice might help you make decisions easier. 

Don’t- Overthink things: People hold onto things for a lot of weird reasons. Don’t overthink the usefulness of something you haven’t looked for in years. If you aren’t actively using an item, consider getting rid of it. 

Don’t- Forget others need donations: Many of the things you aren’t using could benefit someone else. From a homeless shelter to helping a woman back on her feet, your unused items could help give someone else a brand new start. Be willing to donate gently used items to make a difference. 


Don’t- Be afraid: De-cluttering isn’t about losing your things. It’s about taking responsible action to streamline your life and be aware of how much you own and if it serves you. Don’t be afraid of letting go and clearing up space for easier living and a clutter-free home. 

Part of prepping for the later part of life is clearing out the clutter. Making things easier for the people who will have to manage your space for you after you are gone is kind and responsible. Do your part to de-clutter and get rid of the items that no longer have value or serve your needs. 

Using Investments to Augment Income and Medical Care Expenses

There are lots of ways to save for the future. From a simple savings account to a retirement fund, there are benefits and disadvantages for every plan. The best scenario is a diversified plan that covers a wide range of savings options. 

Investments are a savings strategy that can grow income that augments your retirement income and helps pay for out of pocket medical expenses. As we age, the bigger issues become health related. Having adequate coverage for a wide range of possibilities is valuable. We never know what sort of medical and other expenses we may have but some include:

  • Long-term hospital stays
  • Medication and ancillary equipment needs
  • Out of home placement
  • Estate management 
  • And more 

Making investments can help grow income passively while you earn income throughout your career. Once you retire, your sources of income work in conjunction with one another to preserve your standard of living. 

If you have medical coverage in place after retirement, there may still be out of pocket expenses. Leveraging investment income can help offset those costs and may have fewer penalties than accessing other sources of income. Your financial planner can help you evaluate the best investment plan for your budget. 

If you start investing in your younger years, you have a great chance of growing your income with simple and consistent investments. If you are starting later, no worries you can still grow your income and use strategies to make up for lost time. Either way, investing will help you generate income that supports your needs later in life. 

Here are some simple investment ideas for your consideration: 

  • Invest in the stock market
  • Invest in commercial property
  • Invest in tax-deferred plans
  • Invest in insurance products

Some investments can be liquidated faster than others when you need income. Others have penalties depending on when and how much income you collect. Your financial planner can help you diversify your investments so you have an assortment of options to grow your money and collect it when you need it. 

Investments are one of many tools you can use to secure your income for the future and plan for your end-of-life needs. Making small, simple investments over time will render big and important rewards when you need them most. These investments become assets that add to your estate and become part of your legacy from a life well lived. 

Housing Options When You Can’t Live at Home

Everyone wants to live out their days in their own home. It’s painful to think about being placed in an assisted living or dying in a hospital. The thought of leaving behind the comforts of home and losing independence is overwhelming. Sometimes staying at home simply isn’t an option. 

The biggest reason for needing outside care is safety. 

As we age, we may lose mental capacity or simply become frail and unable to manage our independence. We become at risk for falling or other injuries, which makes it too risky to be a home. Sometimes a medical event requires therapies to bounce back and regain mobility or other skills. Isolation is also a concern. Being alone too much can affect social skills and mental health. Being in an environment with peers and activities can prolong and enrich life. 

If you or someone you love is showing the signs that they can no longer live at home, it might be time to consider options. Here are some common options for housing when you can’t live at home. 

Retirement communities- Some retirement communities are single-family homes in a condensed geographic area. Others are apartments or combined housing units with centralized services. These communities are geared towards an active lifestyle but rely on members being relatively independent. If you have been living in a large home with high-maintenance it might be a next step to downsize to a retirement community. 

Assisted living communities- An assisted living community offers more services than a retirement community. This may include providing meals in a central location as well as housekeeping and other services. Assisted living communities may assist in shopping, doctors’ appointments, or social activities off site. Generally, members of an assisted living community are ambulatory and able to make informed decisions about their care. They are able to come and go from the community of their own free will. 

Skilled nursing facilities- A skilled nursing facility is staffed by nurses and other staff members to assist residents with daily living activities. They are generally dependent on staff for assistance in multiple areas of self care including, but not limited to, medication management, access to health care and help with bathing, dressing, and accessing activities. Residents tend to live in community with one another inside one general space such as a room, shared room, or small studio-type apartment. 

Dementia care facilities- These facilities are designed with safety and compassion in mind. These types of facilities have a larger staff to resident ratio and most residents rely on staff for assistance with every area of life. From toileting to accessing food and medication, a dementia care facility is helpful for residents who need full care outside of their home. 

If the time comes that you can no longer be at home, there are multiple options to support you or someone you love. Research the types of communities in your area and make sure your finances and plans are geared towards funding the option that best suits your needs.  

Protecting Guardianship of Your Children in the Event of Your Death

No one wants to think about dying while their children are under the age of eighteen. The thought of not being there to care for them seems unfathomable. Better still, the thought of both parents being unavailable seems incomprehensible. 

Most parents are young and starting out their married lives. They feel invincible and focused on starting their career, building up their assets, and creating a home for their families. They may have thought about life insurance, but not about custody needs. 

If you die and your children are under age, someone will have to make the decision about where they will live. This can cause a lot of chaos and commotion between family members who may have a wide range of ideas about who will step in on your behalf. Additionally, the state or county you live in will have a say about the final decisions. 

Protecting your kids isn’t just about naming who you want to succeed you as guardian, it is also the legal track that allows for a guardian to make legal decisions about your child’s medical and educational needs. Without a formal decision, this can take a long time to finalize. 

Part of parenting is naming a legal guardian to care for your children in the event of your death or incapacity. Here are some tips to consider when making your choice: 

Tip: Who is the child familiar with? Children at any age do better transitioning to live with someone they already know and have a positive relationship with. This means your cousin across America may not be the best guardian if they don’t have a relationship with your child. 


Tip: Who is willing to step in? Be sure to ask someone if they are willing to step in as guardian for your child. Not everyone is able to make the adjustments necessary to expand their family and that’s ok. 


Tip: Evaluate your decision over time. Things change and so do your kids. If you named your parents when your children were very small, they may not be the ideal candidates if your kids are now tweens or teens. Evaluate your nominations from time to time and be sure they are still a good fit. 

Tip: Make sure you have provisions. You may want to consider naming your children successor beneficiaries on your insurance policies after your spouse in case you both perish. This will help insure there are proceeds that can be used for their well-being. Additionally, your children should be eligible for federal income through your social security benefits if you paid into the program. Make sure anyone you nominate knows to check into that funding stream as well.  

Protect your children by naming a guardian for legal and physical custody if you pass away. It will make all the difference in how they manage the loss of their parent.