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Operation Sunset Hill – The Ultimate Planning Guide For Elderly Parents

My Dad is one of the most organised people in the world.  I do not and will never own enough files or storage aids;  should I get run over by a bus anyone trying work out my filing system will have quite an easy time –  what there is of it is all in one large pile.

Dad on the other hand has everything documented, sorted and filed.  It’s been a labour of love for him, and in fact – thank goodness for that.     It means that my family and I are the beneficiaries of “Operation Sunset Hill” – the name of the folder Dad has which contains anything we might need to know about him and Mum should we need it.

Operation Sunset Hill has been compiled over the last few years, and is added to on a reasonably regular basis.   It is in alphabetical order in a large ring bound file.   The information ranges from domestic bills (under H for house), to bank account information (F for finance) and health information (M for medical, and also I for insurance).   It includes information about Dad’s preferred funeral arrangements (you guessed it, F),  including hymns, readings and music.

As part of developing Operation Sunset Hill we have had many conversations.   When Mum and Dad still went on holiday, my brother was called the night before departure to be told of the location of the folder at home, as well as any recent updates.   In more recent years,  we have participated in discussions about what else should be included, a copy of the will and a list of current medication.

I was hesitant at first to embrace Operation Sunset Hill.  Now however I am grateful for it.  It acts as a sort of shorthand for our instructions should decision making become difficult for either of my parents.   As a discussion piece it has also enabled some fairly tricky conversations about money, care and other end of life decisions.

While Operation Sunset Hill will not really prepare me for when the time comes, it will be incredibly helpful in ensuring that we are able to do what my parents want.  We may not be as organised as our Dad is, but he has for sure enabled us to give it our very best shot, when it will probably count the most.

How organised are your parents? What tips can you share to prepare a planning guide for elderly parents? Join the Age Space forum.