CareNotes

Ten Ways to Honor a Deceased Loved One at Christmas

by Kass Dotterweich The first Christmas after my father died was extremely difficult; the second was a little better. The third was just a few weeks away when I received a shoebox-shaped package from my sister. When I called her to say the package had arrived and that I would open it on Christmas, she asked me to open it immediately. With the phone awkwardly tucked between my ear and shoulder, I opened the package to find a bough of three small pine cones, sparsely sprinkled with glitter, with a red velvet ribbon attached. My sister explained that when she had visited my father’s grave in a national cemetery in Florida earlier that year, pine cone boughs littered the entire area. In honor of our father, she collected a number of them, decorated them, and sent them to me and my brothers as ...

Ten Big Questions That Serious Illness Brings

by Nancy Stout Two months ago, my husband had a heart attack—six years after first hearing he had heart disease. Tom’s first question in the ambulance ride to the hospital was, “Am I going to live through this?” That’s a big one! Others followed: “How will this change my lifestyle? What do I need to learn about heart disease? Who’s going to cover for me at work?” Illness brings uncertainty, questions, and concerns that cause anxiety. A whole person, a whole life, is affected. Just when these questions beg for attention, your body needs you to devote all your energy to healing. Working Your Way Through These tough questions don’t have easy answers. Here are responses to some common concerns during illness. Maybe they’ll alleviate some of your anxiety as you focus on regaining optimum health...

“In Sickness and in Health”- When Your Spouse Is Ill

by Sue Fox McGovern When Vivian’s husband, Tim, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, she flew into high gear. She spent hours scouring the internet for information. She stayed strong for her two young children and her husband of eight years. But she also experienced frustration and stress when dealing with doctors and the unknown. Vivian and I attend the same Bible study in suburban Chicago, and she says her faith in God and spending time in prayer pulled her through this difficult period. As she drew closer to God, she also fell more deeply in love with her husband and wanted to give him as much of herself as possible. Like Vivian and Tim, some couples grow stronger and even experience new levels of love and understanding when confronted with illness. But oftentimes this isn’t the ca...

Advance Care Planning: Help for Making Care Decisions Now and for the Future

by Mary Lynne Knighten Are you one of the 70% of people who does not have an advance care plan (ACP)? Advance care planning is the process of planning for future medical care. ACP is an ongoing course of action whereby patients, family members, and healthcare providers consider the patient’s goals, preferences, values, and beliefs, discuss how this informs their health and medical care now and in the future, come to mutual understanding of how everyone involved honors the patient’s wishes to meet their needs, and document future healthcare choices. Planning in advance for decisions in the moment. An advance care plan can be created at any age or stage of life. Whether a person faces an acute illness, a progressive, chronic condition, or terminal disease, advance care planning can help alle...

Five Things to Consider as You Prepare to Retire

by Norma Schuh Until recently, retirement from the work force or from managing a household (or whatever activities and obligations engaged you in earlier years) implied you were soon to be following a downward spiral. In previous generations, where longevity was far shorter than it is today, there was some truth to that supposition. With fewer years left after retiring, many did not have the opportunity to continue evolving that many enjoy today. However, thanks to medical advances and other contributing factors, most of us have three decades more than our great-grandparents possessed—time to grow and thrive. Out with the old, in with the new! An important first step is to embrace the new paradigm of “upward ascension,” or mounting a staircase, and eliminate from your psyche the old model ...