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Getting my Affairs in Order – for the Cats!

posted in: Pandemic

It was in the first week of the pandemic shutdown that a friend threw me for a loop by asking, “Have you made arrangements for someone to take your cats if you die?”

Uh, no. Hadn’t given it a moment’s thought. Sure, we can all be struck by lightening in our youth but at 71, it’s time to get real about my mortality, especially NOW.

So when that same friend, a cat-owner herself, quickly offered to take my cats if I died, I thanked her profusely – problem solved! But how about all the other preparations that I’d been putting off for too long?

My refrigerator door

I hadn’t updated my will in years, so doing that was my next task. That was easy because I skip the lawyer and just use forms online for Marylanders, which input from my accountant. Getting it signed was a logistical challenge, and we were just learning about safeguards, but what a relief to get it done.

Like all senior citizens, especially those living alone, I recognize the importance of having all “Emergency Information” in one easy place for first responders to find, and the recommended place is taped to our refrigerator doors. My info was already there, but I reviewed it and added a bit more.

Next, I enrolled in Maryland’s free “Senior Call Check” program, and now I receive an automated phone call every day at 2 pm (my chosen time), asking me, in essence, to prove that I’m still alive and conscious by pressing any key and hanging up.

Before enrolling, I first had to find someone for the state to call if I don’t respond after three tries, which I procrastinated doing for a couple of weeks because I hate asking anyone to be that person. If I had family nearby it would have been easier but I’ve made great friends in Greenbelt and fortunately, one of them kindly agreed. I just needed to get her all my emergency info, including the name of the local cat-carer I hire when I’m traveling, and a key to the house. Done!

That’s a relief, but I’m still a bit anxious about missing the call and bothering everyone needlessly, but so far so good. I make sure I don’t mute my phone for any reason around that time, and if we can ever attend matinee movies again, I’ll have to remember to use the vibrate option. No biggie.

I’m just grateful that “​​​Maryland is the first state in the country to start a free, opt-in, telephonic service to check on Maryland’s older residents, all across the state.” (Click here to register.) That’s added to a growing list of reasons I feel fortunate to live in this state and especially in Greenbelt during the pandemic.

What’s Missing? Medical Power of Attorney

I wish I could report that ALL my affairs are in order but I’m still putting off even LOOKING at the Medical Power of Attorney I executed a few years back. Again, without family members in the area, who are we to appoint for that potentially terrible job? Seriously, any idea?

I can’t resist one more cat photo! Here’s Harry showing off his good looks.


What’s Right for You

What I’m doing may or may not be right for you, so I’m seeking information and links to add here, to help you decide. Greenbelt Cares regularly conducts events for seniors to receive free legal advice on these very topics. Another resource is Maryland’s 60+ Legal Aid Program.


NOTE: By contributing these pandemic stories, photos, et cetera, Greenbelters are making an unconditional donation of the material to the nonprofit Greenbelt Online.org and the Greenbelt Museum/City of Greenbelt, which reserve the right to keep, lend, or otherwise dispose of the donated material, and may use the material on our website, for social media or other postings, in promotional materials or in future exhibits.

Follow Susan Harris:
“Susan started blogging about Greenbelt soon after moving here in 2012, and that first blog has grown into this nonprofit community website. Retired from garden writing and teaching, she continues to blog at GardenRant.com and direct the nonprofit Good Gardening Videos.org.”

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