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Planning for End-of-Life Issues


Preparing to Cross the Finish Line


Since the beginning of time, humans have pondered end-of-life issues. Over 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." And where is he now? Woody Allen famously said, “I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.”

Mr. Franklin was right; however, we know when taxes are due, but we don’t necessarily know when the Grim Reaper will show up. And Mr. Allen aside, we will be there when it happens, and so will those we leave behind. It behooves us, as a kindness to our loved ones, to plan for that final appointment.

Death is an unpleasant subject but it stalks everyone, from infants to centenarians. It can come without warning, so the time to prepare is now, especially if you or your loved one has heartfelt wishes for how the final years are spent.


One attitude to avoid is that of putting it off until . . . whenever. Being in good health, waiting to fulfill the bucket list, or just trusting your loved ones to take care of everything, will not delay the inevitable. A good driver doesn’t wait until he has a flat tire before buying a spare, and one way to travel life’s road well is to prepare for death ahead of time. Early preparation will put you and your loved ones at ease and help relieve the burden of making — or guessing at — arrangements during and after the time. Discussing such issues can be uncomfortable now, but not as painful as leaving things undone until the family is in mourning.

Developing an end-of-life plan is not a one-time event; as life progresses, health, finances, and locations may change, necessitating changes to plans. It is wise to occasionally consult lawyers, financial planners, clergy, medical specialists, and other experts for advice. Family members should be a part of these discussions as well, and a written will and directives will assure that your wishes will be carried out.

There can be psychological issues to think about as well. Facing regrets in your final days can be painful. Is there someone you need to reconcile with? Are there spiritual matters to finalize? Any wrongs to make right? Nursing a grudge only makes it worse, not better.

When it comes to preparing for the future and reconciling the past, there is no time like the present!


The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ created Sacred Heart Villa (formerly St. Michael Convent) in 2003 with the vision of providing a personal care home for the Sisters and other seniors of southeastern Pennsylvania. The Sisters renovated St. Michael in order to create 35 personal care residential rooms. Sacred Heart Villa officially opened her doors to her first new residents in May 2004, with space for 57 Sisters and 40 other senior residents.

The facility has two residential buildings, a remodeled dining room, a new fireside lounge, library, café and beauty shop. The chapel remains in the middle of the facility for it truly is the Heart of the community. Each new residential room provides an individual with privacy, safety, and security in an environment of beauty and grace. Mass is celebrated each day and is open to the public.

Sacred Heart Villa is now accepting residents. If you are seeking care for yourself or loved one, contact Sacred Heart Villa today at 610-929-5751 for a tour. You can also visit or visit us at