As a woman, I am pleased that this is a month that we set aside to acknowledge the great contributions that women have made and continue to make in building this world. While women are more than 50% of the population, there are so many struggles in achieving acknowledgement and equity. There is an acknowledged disparity in pay and opportunities.

​Women are traditionally the principal caregivers in the family. Women typically outlive male spouses. The women typically take care of their parents when they are infirmed, often even when there are male siblings.

​Unfortunately, women don’t always take the steps to be taken care of. When thinking about what needs to be completed and who needs to be cared for, too often women don’t remember to put themselves on the care list.

​All people need to be thoughtful about what steps need to be taken if they are not able to take care of themselves. I have written about the need for a power of attorney. The power of attorney appoints someone who can manage your financial matters. I would you to select someone who not only cares about you personally but that has the integrity and fiscal acuity to manage your finances.

​I encourage you to have a health care proxy and advanced directive that will appoint someone who can direct your health care preferences if you can’t speak for yourself. It is indeed important to provide the guidelines for care decisions if the situations were presented. Select someone who knows you and respects your decisions, even if the decisions are difficult to abide by.

​I also encourage single people to make sure that there is a support system that will monitor their well-being. As we are more global and virtual, there could be significant amounts of time when we are not connected. The traditional model of going to work in an office provided safeguards that triggered concern when someone didn’t arrive. However, with more virtual work assignments, there are not as many signals that would allow someone to be concerned. There are not the same touchpoints that allow an analysis of health.

This concern is exacerbated with retirement. An unpredictable schedule does not create a pattern that would alert anyone if there was a need for concern. We should be thoughtful about creating systems of connectedness that provide checks and balances for health and well-being. In so doing we should create regular check-ins that would alert someone if there is no response. We should have physical as well as emotional well-being systems. There should be someone who has a key or access to your home to check on you when there is a need.

​This circle of support is best with more than two people. The checks and balances would best be triangulated to increase the probability that there is someone able to check on the other’s well-being.

​My daughter has installed “Share my location” on my cellphone so that at all times she can find me. I recommend this resource. It has proven to be helpful to calm her concerns about my well-being. My daughter lives hours away. At one point before I had this resource, my daughter called the police when I had not been in communication for more time that she was comfortable. She had the police come by to do a wellness check. Having someone who knows how and when to sound the alarm when necessary to handle any emergency is a great idea. They also need the resources to follow it through.

​My sisters who are consistently thinking about others need to take the time to plan and protect themselves. Build the system of support to keep yourself safe. As the foundation of the world, you deserve it.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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