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Six Things You Can Do For Your Family While On Hospice

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When you are put on hospice, it generally means you have six months left to live. While your health is declining, there are some things you can still do to help your family after you are gone. 

1. Plan your funeral. If you have not already done so, look into pre-funeral planning. Work with your loved ones to plan something affordable that will help them celebrate your life. It will help bring closure to both you and your family. You can even do a partial "run through" beforehand if you want to hear what your family members and friends will say about you. 

2. Write letters. If you have a hard time writing, you can have someone do the writing for you. You can write short notes to your children, spouse, grandchildren, close friends. You can arrange to have someone give them out after your funeral or at future important dates (birthdays, weddings, etc.).

3. Sort through your belongings. You will save your family a lot of work if you get rid of things now. Talk with those close to you about which items they might like to keep after you pass on and get rid of the rest. If you have old pictures, write the details on the back or have them scanned and put on CD's. Shred most of your papers. Sell antiques or other valuable items. Going through your belongings will help you process your past and move on. 

4. Finish your family history. There are a lot of fascinating things that only you know. You can write about your life or about the lives of your ancestors. You can write short stories or a long, detailed autobiography. If you don't know where to start, begin with a list of questions and move on from there. You can also jot down notes while you are sorting through your belongings since they might bring up memories. If you have old journals, have someone scan them in so that anyone who wants them can have them. 

5. Make sure your will is in order. If you haven't revisited your will, do so now. You can specify which items go to which family members. You will also want to:

  • take care of any debt you have
  • pay for your funeral
  • settle any estate plans 

6. Apologize. If you have any hard feelings toward anyone, now is the time to work things out. Don't die with regrets. Make phone calls to anyone you want to thank or apologize to. Clear your conscience so that you can leave this earth happy and content. 

Even if your health is declining, do these six things to help your family after you're gone.