Recently a friend of mine passed away. It was a shock to learn about this, as I had just seen her at the pool. Ann was a retired teacher and came almost daily to the pool to exercise and socialize with the other ladies. I have good memories of walking in the pool, talking and laughing with her and our friend Inez. I am writing this post to honor Ann and share some tips that might help prevent a terrible ending for someone else. So as I write this post, I realized Ann is still teaching us!

Here is what happened

On Tuesday, Ann said she would bring a pizza to celebrate one of our friends’ birthdays at the pool. She did not show up, which everyone thought was strange as she was bringing the pizza! It was not like her not to call if something came up. We tried to call her but got no answer. On Wednesday, one of our friends went to her home but could not get in as she lived in a gated community with a system where the homeowner had to buzz the visitor onto the property. Someone else called the Women’s Club, where Ann was President, but no one knew anything. Another friend called the school where Ann had taught for 20 years and recently volunteered reading to kindergarten kids. She talked to one of the teachers who knew Ann and thought something was off. She said she would call the police to do a wellness check. The police finally did the wellness check on Friday and found our friend Ann in her townhouse dead.

Ann did have diabetes, but no one knows what happened or how long she was down. She had no family in the area but did have a handful of friends that were all left feeling sad as we could not help our friend. We all pray she did not suffer.

As I thought about Ann, I came up with a few tips we all need to consider – especially if you live alone.

  1. Give a neighbor a key to get into your house. Let them know you live alone and want them to have the key in case something happens. Tell them about your routine and ask them to keep an eye out for you. We can do this for each other.
  2. Build a community of friends and commit to checking in on each other.
  3. Tell your circle of friends who has your key so, if needed, they can get into your home to check in on you.
  4. Put a note on your refrigerator in your home with your emergency contact’s name and phone number. This will alert whoever comes into your home to check on you to have the name/number of the person you have designated as your emergency contact.
  5. Consider a medical alert bracelet connected to an emergency system. This will allow you to get assistance if you fall in your home or outside and cannot use your phone.
  6. Have your essential papers in a place where someone can find them. This will help your emergency contact know what you want them to take care of in case of an accident where you cannot talk or your untimely death. These papers should include your advance directives for your healthcare team but also other things like what you want done with your home, your car, your bank accounts, and other things you have. If you have someone designated to handle these things for you, like an attorney or financial planner, put their names and phone numbers on the paper you have as your emergency contact.
  7. Let your local police department know that you are a solo senior or if not a senior, someone who lives alone. Ask them to check on your from time to time. Give them your emergency contact.

These tips are for anyone who lives alone. Please consider implementing these tips, as you never know what could happen to you.

Also, talk to your family and friends about your wishes if something happens to you. Keep your advanced directives and your important papers in a place that is visible so someone could find them. You can also put on the note on your refrigerator where they are. Doing so will help your wishes be carried out how you want them to be.

Thank you for reading this post. I would appreciate it if you would say a prayer for my friend Ann.

I know she is at peace!





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