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Protecting myself when making crisis decisions

Major life events such as serious illness and death can be very unsettling. They can cause profound changes in your personal life, your financial circumstances and your physical, psychological and emotional well-being. When you experience major life events, you will need time to adjust, whether it’s grieving for the loss of a loved one or coming to terms with serious illness. Here are some tips to help you to make good decisions during critical life events.

Plan ahead

The best approach to making decisions about matters that may affect you in later life is to plan ahead for them as early as possible. This will give you peace of mind that should something happen, you and the people closest to you are well prepared for it. It will avoid a situation whereby hasty decisions are made under pressure or without having being thoroughly considered. Planning ahead facilitates better and more informed decision-making when emergencies do arise. Discussing and recording preferences if an emergency, serious illness or death occurred, is recommended and supported by the Think Ahead campaign.

Talk with family and friends

You should plan ahead by talking with your family and friends. Let them know what you would like to happen if you become ill or when you die. If you are responsible for family financial affairs, it is important that you involve your spouse/partner or family and keep them informed. This will enable them to manage better if they should have to take charge of family financial matters. If your spouse or partner is the person who manages the family finances, talk to them about your family finances and plan for the future together.

Get advice

Better decisions are more likely to be made when a range of opinions and supports are considered. For a major financial decision, you can seek independent financial/legal advice. You should also seek the advice and opinions of trustworthy persons when making decisions. By consulting widely and talking with family and friends; you can become aware of all the potential decision-making options and make an informed decision.

Take your time

Not all decisions need to be taken immediately. In relation to financial affairs, you may be able to buy yourself more time by simply contacting your financial institution. You can inform them of any change in your circumstances, ask for their cooperation and patience while you assess your new position and reassure them that you are going to address any outstanding issues. It is unwise to make any decisions when your mood is low and you are struggling to cope. It may affect how you see things at that time and may lead to rash decisions being made that you later regret.

University College Dublin (UCD)National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP)Health Services Executive (HSE)Older People's Empowerment Network (OPEN)
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