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Are you a breast cancer survivor who happens to be childless?



  • Janet AJanet A Member Posts: 266
    Good advice on this....note to self: don't set up a username and password when living the chemo fog. In saying that, I lived through the gritty part of childlessness when social media wasn't thought of when we were seen but not heard and to be honest I'm a little tired of that. Now that I am grandma age and listening to my friends get excited about impending grandchildren, thinking do I have to do this all over again?! 
    I'm all for cultural change and I am beginning to see this here and recently on Facebook with Mothers Day so now I don't mind using my name if I can assist others in navigating the minefield of the perils of childlessness in our society. 
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 4,482
    One of the more realistic aspects that we all really need to look at as we grow older is - who do you use as your 'enduring power of attorney' for financial decision - and other 'life (or end of life) decisions' that need to be put in place in case we are not able to do it ourselves further down the track!  

    It can be a bit confronting - and I am about to go thru all this re me & my hubby.  We already have the Enduring Power of Attorney sorted & our wills ....... BUT .... we are now looking at an Advance Care Plan & Directive.  These are legal documents that will be enforced if you are no longer able to talk or make the decision yourself.  :( 

    Ain't none of us getting any younger ...... and now that my 'older' husband (he is 82, I am 65) has definitely been diagnosed with moderately severe Alzheimers (about half way on the Dementia Scale) - I DO actually need to have something in place, in writing, in case I pop off the perch BEFORE him, heaven forbid! ..... Who would look after him & his affairs in my absence as he would not be able to do it himself?  His twin brother is probably worse than him, dementia wise - and our step children live in NZ - we can't expect them to drop everything & come over here to take on that responsibility. 

    Check out this site (specifically related to Dementia - but still good info for all illnesses, even for us.)
    https://www.dementia.org.au/files/start2talk/ Cartwright_Planning for the end of life_ Part one.pdf

    SO ....An Advance Care Plan is essential of BOTH partners, particularly if there are no children to 'look after you' in your old age (i.e. - Planning future care to ensure that your wishes are known when you can no longer make decisions for yourself or legally complete documents.) This document gets lodged with your GP as well as Solicitor (I guess) and you make sure your other family members know of your wishes (siblings etc.)  If you don't have one of these in place - the court will decide what treatment you are or are not to receive in case of a life threatening injury or disease.

    So in the Advance Care Directive - you can stipulate 'Not for Resuscitation' in the event of a major stroke/heart attack/accident if the prognosis is not for a decent quality of life upon recovery ...... we both agree on that one.  Also - if you are in a coma from illness/injury (without a good prognosis as above) - do you go for antibiotics/life saving choices - or just 'made comfortable with no pain' and allowed to go with dignity?  I reckon we'll both go with that one, too!
    (Advance Directive A written, legally binding document, which allows you to record your wishes for general or specific treatment you consent to or refuse under certain conditions.)

    Because we live in a rural town & have no family nearby - I am considering asking a couple of close buddies if one (or both) would have their names down in case hubby outlives me & is unable to make quality decisions on his own - for them to step up to the plate & reinforce the Advance Care Directive that we have stipulated ...... because if you DON'T have one in place, someone else will be making that decision FOR you - and it may not be the one you would have chosen for yourself!!

    Sorry to go all serious on this - but it needs to be 'out there' to discuss with your parents & your partner ..... cos we've all gotta go sometime!  :(  
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,823
    @arpie I did this for my single childless cousin who is about 15 years older than me 
  • Janet AJanet A Member Posts: 266
    This is an issue with us childless men and women. Going forward will be an issue for the government to take into account when options arise on care for the elderly who don't have children and are unable to make decisions for themselves. Am I thinking nothing has been discussed as yet in the public realm?
    I haven't thought about it so thanks @arpie for raising this important issue. 
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,141

    It is a very important issue that many of don't pay attention to @arpie Having children doesn't mean you can trust them with your life or finances, deciding on who will carry the can is a complex problem.

    I've had to evoke power of attorney, both medical and financial,  for my mother on two occasions. It is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. As it happens, she survived against all odds but was then in a position where she could not continue to live at home or manage her finances. It still erks me that my previous attempts at conversations about nursing homes and where the hell she had her money stashed (all over the bloody place) were met with 'We don't need to talk about that.' I have no idea how someone without a degree of comfort about ferreting through her affairs would have managed.

    I'm now trying to balance the issue. My partner of 5 years, who doesn't live with me, is uncomfortable about taking up the role, I'm estranged from most of my family and I gave birth to Peter Pan who would have no idea what to do and doesn't want to know. Ah, the joys.

  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 4,482
    edited May 2018
    I was quite upset when the Geriatric Specialist raised the issue with me last week - I'd never ever thought that I would 'go' before my hubby  ...... but accidents can happen - so we now have to cover all the bases.  I am just hoping that I go 'after' him, so that I can hopefully control  what is going on up til then.   BUT, we have to be totally honest about it - I 'could go' before him, but I hope not.

    Then, to top it off - we also saw his diagnostic specialist (who diagnosed him with the Stomach Cancer in 2010 after he lost a heap of weight & wasn't interested in eating .....) as hubby had started losing weight again & was asking for smaller 'softer' meals (same as in 2010!) after his rib injury in March when I was having Rads at Port Macquarie.  I was a bit concerned that the cancer may have returned (or another one) ...and the specialist (whilst agreeing that wive's intuition is worthy of investigating ......) spelled out in no uncertain terms that if the cancer HAD returned ANYWHERE - there would be no surgery, no chemo - he would be 'maintained and made comfortable' ...... so a double whammy over the last week!   I was a tad upset there too!!  :(   (I AM a bit of a sook tho - I can cry at the drop of a hat! I still cry at a sad movie!) 

    I am a little less emotional right now - but I still need to approach our buddies with a plan, should I NOT be here, longterm!!

    We are looking at downsizing our house, to a smaller 3 bed house with no steps (we currently have a 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2 storey house) .... but whilst I am on the early stages of tablets, I don't want to start disposing of stuff just yet - tho I realise I seriously NEED TO!  :(   We hope to also upsize our campervan (currently a 20 year old VW Transporter) for a more comfy ride ..... but that will only happen after we downsize the house & depends on the $$ left over!

    So, lots of things to think about ...... That's a bugger, @Zoffiel  - I hope you can come to some arrangement that you are happy with!  Sadly - one of the other alternatives is the Public Trustee - but they charge BIGTIME by the hour & often the estate/funds can be worn down by extended 'discussions' .... as happened with a buddy's Mum who took that route.  They charged SO MUCH that her estate ended up being emptied, with none of her assets going to her intended beneficiaries - and she had an estate of $1 Million plus!   I believe it went to court but the funds were not reinstated, even tho it was believed the estate had been MILKED!  So - SERIOUSLY RETHINK about the Public Trustee looking after your affairs!!   :(

    @Janet A  - I don't know if it has been raised before on here - maybe it needs a specific post for everyone?  Everyone needs to rethink their will/Advanced Care stuff  every 5 years or so - as people die, circumstances change, names & addresses of beneficiaries may change - but especially US - those without kids.  

    @Sister  - are you her 'carer' or Enduring Power of Attorney person?  My brother is mine - so I reminded him of that yesterday, as he is in Sydney - as it was 10 years ago that we set it up!!

  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,141

    Public trustees look after to  who die intestate. I'm sorted with what happens when I cark it, it's the intervening period that is the problem. Sorry. Janet, not trying to highjack your thread :)

  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 4,482
    @Zoffiel - you & I are not hijacking the thread at all  ...... it is a VERY REAL issue that needs to be faced by childless couples, whether by choice or by misfortune!  :(  

    Public Trustee in NSW actively 'touts' for business here - not just intestate (no will) estates .... but not everyone is aware of the unrealistic fees that they charge!  :(  So everyone needs to be aware that their intended beneficiaries may NOT receive their intended inheritance!  :(  

    Whether you are healthy or not - you need to look after your affairs - or you may get 'done' big time!!   :(     
  • Janet AJanet A Member Posts: 266
    Not hijacking at all. These are all real issues faced by childless couples, sure some with children will experience this as well, but let's remember why I posted in the first place, to support other childless women who happen to have been diagnosed with breast cancer. It's a real fear with some after diagnosis what may become of them if their partner passes away or if they don't even have a partner. Public Trustee do take a large chunk of the estate and they also dictate the terms, I used to work in mental health so I have a bit of an understanding on how they work.
    At the end of the day some things will always be out of our control. 
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,823
    @arpie enduring power of attorney
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 4,482
    Thanks, @Janet A

    Yep, @Sister  - got that under control - just gotta work on the Advanced Care Plan and Advanced Care Directive (2 totally different  documents) that are necessary as WELL as the Enduring Power of Attorney!  ;)  
  • BlackWidowBlackWidow Lake GardensMember Posts: 208
    There are new rules in Victoria re Power of Attorney so I made some enquiries.  Suggest ladies call the Office of the Public Advocate (Ph: 1300 309 337) and get a copy of the book "Take Control"'.  With the new laws even doctors cannot override your decisions as to what you want at the time of crisis.  The new laws allow one to make directives as to what they want to happen and can even put scenarios such as "If I can no longer feed, was or dress myself .....".  Most certainly worth a look.  I think it is also on-line for those who are able to do that.  Never allow the public trustees to get involved as they put you in the crappiest cheapest place to save the money for them to take when you pass.  Getting personal requirements from them (with YOUR money) is near impossible.  Hope this helps someone out there.  Anne
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 4,482
    Great find, Anne @BlackWidow
    Here is the link - click on 'download' - and even check out the publication below as well - Your Choice, Trust Your Choice (re enduring Powers of Attorney.)  

    I shall download both & check 'em out.  I assume the new law would be Australia Wide, not just Victoria - I shall do some digging for NSW?  Here it is ("Planning Ahead" section):
  • June1952June1952 Member Posts: 1,003
    Hi @arpie

    I also found the documents as I am a Power of Attorney and was checking up as I heard a whisper. 

    The new rules in Victoria do not affect those who have an existing EPOA.  They are considered the same in relation to medicos not being able to over-ride the wishes now which is a good thing. 

    The only big change is the area where one can state specific circumstances and what they want to happen - and this does affect us childless ladies as we don't have family who would know our wishes and ethics (not that all families would adhere to them, eh ?).

    I think the new laws bring Vic into the real world like other States.

    Hope you are well.  Thanks for the downloads.

    Summer    :)
  • Giovanna_BCNAGiovanna_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 1,767
    Hello @arpie
    The following website has information regarding advance care planning in each state and territory.  Its called Advance Care Planning Australia.  You can check your state and find the appropriate documents and relevant information.

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