Organizing Now – Can save time later

emergency check listReturning to Naples for season is cause for celebration and planning. Bustling social life, ringing in the holidays and reconnecting with friends and family are the focus for most of these residents. But there are other important considerations residents need to make to ensure the things that make Naples so grand stay that way.

“Seldom do individuals consider that they may become ill, experience an accident or God forbid pass away, but things do happen, and when they do, it can be hard to fully process that, let alone be clear on how to manage the situation,” says Sandra Lee Buxton, RN BSN MA LHRM and Chief Nursing Officer at McKenney Homecare. “It is extremely important when coming south to bring copies of important documents as well as pertinent names and phone numbers.”

In times of illness or hospitalization health care providers need to understand what is important to you and your family.

lockThe best way for them to do that is for you to produce living wills, advanced directives, power of attorneys and designation of health care surrogates.

“In addition have ready the names and phone numbers of doctors, attorneys in the north and contact information on financial advisors and in the case of a couple, especially if one has a memory disorder, or if children are making arrangements on behalf of parents, maintaining order will bring peace of mind,” she says. “When opening a case in home health I feel that it is important to know the person, not just understand their disease process – more times than I can remember a client will tell me that they think
this information is in a safety deposit box, with their northern attorney, their financial advisor or they can’t recall where they are.”

All pertinent documents need to be available in Naples for those “in case of” moments. Buxton says it is very difficult to execute the wishes of a client when it is not clear to them what they have decided or where their documents are.

“In addition to assisting with medical and social issues I have been requested to review and interpret stock portfolios, give advice on investments and in fact assist with
obtaining local financial and legal resources,” she says. “I can directly assist if it is medical or psychosocial and indirectly by obtaining resources, but organizing and having a
systematic way of accessing medical, legal, and financial documents is paramount to feeling in control and secure.”

This becomes especially important once a permanent move is made to Florida since some documents may need to be updated as Florida defines them. Jill Ciccarelli Rapps, CFP, Financial Advisor at Ciccarelli Advisory Services, Inc. agrees it can be difficult to stay organized when moving back and forth from two or more homes.

“My grandfather always had a list that was laminated so he could use it each year and now I know why – it is easy to forget,” says Rapps.

Rapps suggests residents carry documents with them in an easy-to-remember place, like a ‘red’ file box that can easily be refilled each time you migrate from home to home and this should be kept in a safe, secure and fireproof place.

“Another option is to have your attorney hold your original documents for safe keeping,” she says. “That way if any originals are needed or additional copies, they can be
easily overnighted or sent securely over the internet.”

Another alternative, says Rapps, is to have an encrypted lock box file on the computer where copies of executed documents can be easily accessed from anywhere. You and a
trusted family member or friend should have the password. This means not having to carry documents or having to worry about losing or forgetting them.

“At Ciccarelli Advisory Services, Inc. we always suggest that a copy of your health care document and living will should be kept in the glove compartment of your car if you
are driving, as this may be the first place Emergency Medical Services personnel may look for a contact if you are in an accident,” says Rapps, who also suggests including name and phone numbers of health care surrogates are kept updated on these documents.

“If you are not sure what you have or where it is, can you imagine how your family members, trustees, personal representative, health care surrogates or your durable power
of attorneys will feel when they need to step up on your behalf? Don’t procrastinate. Set up a system today for your important documents, be sure they are updated, and
don’t forget to tell your loved ones where to find them.”

To discuss home health care, contact Sandra Buxton at or 239.325.2273.

Contact Jill Rapps at 239.262.6577 or visit

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