Do you know what "ICE" Means?

ICE = "In Case of Emergency" - this is the CODE WORD you should have in your Cell Phone to assist rescue personnel to find a family member should you be incapacitated in an accident.

Also, in these days of HIPAA, do you have your final wishes determined? No, I don't just mean a will - wills are all about the financial stuff.

With many couples living together if you are not legally married (and many states are outlawing "common law") the person who is your life partner will not be seen as such by the courts or a hospital if a family member wants to override the situation.

The family member will be seen as the primary contact and decider not the person they've been living with for years. Plus not being named in the Medical Directives or Power of Attorney can legally prevent a hospital from allowing you to be at your loved one's side or to even share diagnosis.

This is taking the time to look at your mortality and choices: do a GOOGLE search and find Advanced Medical Directives and Power of Attorney forms for your state (they do vary) and read and make decisions. Often the form must be signed by a notary (usually free at any bank).

This is important so you designate who will speak for you, and also your choices about whether to have physicians keep trying or to give you palliative care after a life-changing event.

MAKE SURE you tell someone! Keep a copies of both forms with you when you travel (I keep ours in our glove box), give copies to your physicians, and tell your family your final wishes - so they will be respected.

In the event you also wish to be an organ donor, it is simple to get the information on your driver's license, but tell someone so they can respect that wish as well.

I am not trying to be a "downer" just taking a moment to be a realist since so many of us blithely go through life without making sure these things are done - it is for peace of mind and to keep that final heart-breaking decision "off" your loved ones.

Submitted by Beverly. Thank you.