Reprinted from Give in Kind Blog, Author: Tara Shafer
“I need to remember to take one step at a time … you are a timely and valuable asset.” Client Testimonial, Banister Advisors
Grief is confusing and it is multifaceted. Unpacking it is hard. Decisions surrounding health care in a medical crisis require people to quickly develop skill sets they do not necessarily have. When Banister Advisor’s Founder, Vanessa Laughlin’s father-in-law died in 2016, her bereft family was forced to contend with a multitude of decisions simultaneously.
When a little time had gone by, she realized that there was no organization or platform equipped to handle all the considerations associated with illness, healing, death, dying, practical matters (estate), or care for close family members.
From this experience sprang Banister Advisors, a service designed to identify what a family needs in illness and, if necessary, in transition – and then sets out to provide exactly that. Banister Advisors begins by developing a custom crisis care or bereavement plan (as applicable) that combines social/emotional support with practical considerations for the person who is ill – as well as for those who love them.
Banister Advisors specialize in health crisis management and bereavement services. When appropriate they are also able to act as estate expeditors.
My own grandmother died almost twenty years ago following a short bout with cancer. She was the beloved wife of a small town community minister. As a result of her standing in the community, she was the beneficiary of a great outpouring of love over the course of her brief hospice. We, the lucky members of her family, were cared for and were coached in understanding the steps of death.
The death of my grandmother eased, a great deal, my own fear of dying. I, like everyone, hope to be given the time to raise my children and so on. However, the experience of being part of such an informed and empowered death, demystified it for me.
Without such a support net, however, the experience of illness is most often intense and overwhelming. The number of things with which people are forced to contend at once strain mental health and relationships. Many in this position have not faced these decisions before and this adds exponentially to their stress– even as they continue to manage work, family, children.
Laughlin describes her work as part of the positive death movement. She points out that recently-deceased Senator John McCain was intimately involved in planning his death. While the pain of death is intense to loving survivors, there are ways to empower the person who is ill – while still providing support to those they will leave behind.
“Death is everywhere but we still don’t have a way to cover topics related to death. Banister helps to facilitate talks about death and dying. The Banister Team knows how to be fully present. ‘No one would try to climb Everest without a Sherpa.’ A Sherpa will carry, unburden, guide, care for you on your journey – but it is still your journey.”
Banister works with families throughout the process of illness and, where applicable, transition to hospice. Their specialized advisors are able to offer emotional support to the patient, and to their loving support team. They are able to get creative about quality of life issues such as sleep hygiene, sadness and depression, and more – for the person who is ill, and also for those who love them.
Importantly, they are also able to address the complexities associated with settling an estate. Until one has arrived at this point, it is hard to underscore some of the nuances associated with estate execution. For the recently bereaved, it can be a lot to take on.
Banister Advisors are sensitive to generational differences. For example, they are able to work easily with an older person who may not have handled their own personal finances before. In a different vein, they would be able to work with a younger person in a similar circumstance.
There are many, many unknowns when it comes to both medical crisis and end of life care, and each situation is different. Banister Advisors knows this, and can help bring clarity into what are often highly unclear circumstances with their customizable services.