If you had an accident or became ill and had to spend an extended amount of time in the hospital, a nursing facility or at home, would your family or caretaker know which of your friends to contact and explain what happened to you?
I asked myself that question when I learned that my friend Lois had broken her leg. Lois lived alone in an apartment in Queens, New York. She has a cochlear implant, uses the phone with difficulty and does not have a computer. Even though keeping in touch was not always easy, we usually talked every few weeks and got together several times a year.
I found out about Lois’s accident several weeks after it happened when I called to wish her a happy Passover. When she did not answer the phone after my third call, I got worried. Fortunately, I had her son’s email address and was able to contact him. That is how I learned she had fallen, broken her leg and was recuperating at a nursing home near her daughter’s house in upstate New York.
Lois has a very close-knit family. Her children, grandchildren, sisters and other relatives are in frequent contact with her. Although her children have been busy caring for her, I'm sure they would have appreciated having a list of friends who would be concerned if they were unable to reach her, as I was.
That is why I suggest taking the time to put together a list of your "Circle of Friends" and sharing it with the people who will be your caretakers if you become ill. Include the name, address, phone/cell numbers and email addresses of those people you would like to hear from. If you belong to any organizations, be sure to highlight the name of the person who can be counted on to alert others to your situation. Give this list to your family/caretakers and update it every six months.
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As we grow older and face new health and hearing issues, staying in touch with those we care about is very important. Your family and friends will surely appreciate having this information.
Ruth D. Bernstein