Loyal Supporter and Caregiver
Empowered life choices. End of life quality. We foster a greater understanding of the capacity that end of life decisions have to nurture the human spirit.
Judi Strauss, Ph.D., E.A., is owner and principal of Strauss Financial and Tax Service in Downers Grove and Chicago, Illinois. Judi is one of our earliest supporters and has contributed articles on financial planning and long-term care.
How did you first hear about LMM?
I met Randi, one of LMM’s founders, right at the beginning.
I was president of Phi Beta Kappa, and she was a Phi Beta Kappa. She explained what had happened to her and to Carlos and the beginning of Life Matters Media.
What attracted you to our mission? Why do you donate?
Randi is so committed to helping people.
Do you have a personal story that prompted you to help others plan for their end of life experience?
My husband is 18 years older than I am. He is going to be 93 in two weeks. We have had more of these discussions. I wanted- and he wanted- to make sure everything was in place and there were no loose ends or family arguments. He was comfortable where he was both medically and financially. We wanted to make sure we had our affairs in order.
He is older, and there is a lot more going on with him. I am substantially more conscious for the need for this than I was back then. He is not dying, but he does have dementia, which is mostly short-term memory loss because he is 93. He does not have Alzheimer’s, but he does forget.
I have a lot more responsibilities as a caregiver now than I had five or six years ago. A lot.
Do you think being a caregiver made it easier to help others facing similar issues?
I do. I run an income tax business, so I ask people these types of questions. Not pointedly, but if I am doing their taxes or if they are there I will ask them when they last updated their trusts or if they have talked with their kids or if they have a list of passwords any place.
We do a lot of informal talking while I am doing the formal work for them about their lives. I am more aware of what can be done. I also think I listen better. Because I am a tax person, people tend to blah, blah, blah to me about their whole lives. It is like your hairdresser. I get to find out a lot of things. I am really careful about working to help them, so that things are not loose ends.
What have you learned from LMM?
I think I have learned that this part of life is part of life.
The most important thing is not to feel depressed or down about it. It is really easy to say ‘I am too old, I cannot do this, I cannot do that. I am checking out.’ Live every day and celebrate every day, whether it is your day or your spouse’s day or your family day.
My husband retired at 70. He has not been working since he was 70, and now he is 93. That is a long time. Accepting is not easy to do. It is not easy for me. I want to kick him in the ass and make him like he was 10 years ago.
He cannot do as much, he cannot think anywhere near as well, and he cannot be there for me like he was 10 years ago. That is one of the hardest parts.
I have learned when to get help. I cannot do it all myself.
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