Monday, 28 September 2015

Managing My Will and Power of Attorney by Sarah Evans

A few weeks ago, I wrote that I was thinking about my will. Last week, I went to see the lawyer. The process was surprisingly easy. The key was thinking about what I wanted ahead of time. The two major decisions I had to make were how I wanted to divide my estate and who I wanted to name as executor (I had to name a second person as well in case the first is unavailable). I will have to go back in a few weeks once the lawyer has made up my will.

While I was at the lawyer's, I also created a power of attorney. There are a couple of different kinds of power of attorney: one to take care of your finances and one to make personal decisions on your behalf. Creating a power of attorney is almost more relevant at this point in my life. A couple of years ago, I was very ill and it would have been very helpful for me and my family if I'd had a power of attorney then.

It's important that these documents are in place, not only for me but also for my loved ones. 

Here is a helpful link to give you more information about Living Wills and Power of Attorney. Wills and Power of Attorney are not just for elderly people. If you're an adult, there could be a time when people will have to make decisions for you because you physically or mentally cannot. It is good for people to know who you trust to make those decisions and what you would decide if you had the ability to communicate your wishes. 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Wellness Tools by Sarah Evans

The things I like to do are not only fun, but they help me to maintain my emotional wellness.

I like to go out and be with people, and the library is a great place for this. There are a variety of groups at the library. A couple of months ago, I started playing chess. I really enjoy it. I'm still learning how to play. Even though it can be difficult, I like the challenge and it helps me to develop my critical thinking skills.

It also helps to build community around myself. Ability Online is great for that. I also listen to a podcast called the Daily Audio Bible that gives me a real sense of community. Just like I take care of my physical health, it is very important that I do these things to stay happy and calm.

The Canadian Mental Health Association has some interesting facts about mental health in Canada. Check out this link: Fast Facts About Mental Health

Friday, 4 September 2015

Future Planning by Sarah Evans

I recently started thinking about the future, especially in terms of finances. It started a few weeks ago when a relative who helps manage my affairs advised me to start thinking about putting together a will. I never even considered that I needed a will since I'm on ODSP. I always thought of my finances as simple and straightforward, yet thinking about it, I realized that I do have some assets.

Things got even stranger when I thought about who I would leave my assets to. I obviously don't have children and I don't plan on having them. I would leave money to the children of my brothers and sisters, but they don't have children yet either and I'm not sure whether or not they will. Thinking about this has been really strange. I know that preparing a will is the responsible thing to do, but it feels like I'm dealing with so many unknowns.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Parenthood Reality Check: Chill Out! by Renée Cormier

It’s that time of year when families are getting their kids ready for back to school. I remember the stress of single parenting and the worry that was a natural part of raising a child with a disability. What would the school year bring? Will my children do well in school? Will they get the help they need? Will they like their teachers? Will the teachers like them? As I reflect upon my life and how I raised my children, I think I would have done a few things differently. If I could give advice to parents of young children it would be to chill out and do as follows:

Embrace your child's eccentricities: When my daughter was about ten years old she thought her school picture would look really cool if she showed a tattoo on her arm. On picture day, she licked and stuck one to her arm and didn’t let on to me that she had no intention of looking like all the other kids for her school picture. Weeks later, when I saw the proof, I was furious and refused to buy her school picture. Looking back, it was really very funny, but I saw no humour in it at the time. I regret not letting my daughter be her natural kooky self. What would have been the harm, really? Maybe if I had been more accepting of her independence when she was younger, she would have loved herself more in her teen years.

Let them get muddy: My mother never had any problem letting me splash in the mud when I was young, but I never wanted to deal with the mess and pain of trying to get the stains out of my kids’ clothes. Honestly, why was it such a big deal? Kids love mud and they usually love getting dirty. Happiness is a muddy face!
Before you freak out, weigh the importance of the issue: Single parents have no one to tag team with, so the stress of raising a family alone can be pretty intense. Whether you are single or married, however, there will always be times when you are overwhelmed by things your children do. I remember freaking out over things when my kids were young, but for the most part, I don’t remember why. That tells me I was probably over reacting to small stuff. If I could go back and redo things, I think I would try to be more relaxed and less of a drill sergeant.

Oh well; hindsight is 20/20. I was certainly not a perfect parent, but I was definitely a good mother, just the same. We all do our best with the tools in our chests. Please don’t beat yourself up over the mistakes you make. Your grandchildren will be your shot at a redo, but until then, chill out!