Fulfilling the Wishes of Our Loved Ones at the End of Life

Preparing for end of a life is a difficult conversation to have, and many of us do not want to think about or consider these decisions when health is good. Young and healthy people do not typically think about their end of life. It is probably the farthest thing from their mind.

Discussions often take place in the midst of a major health concern when it is even more difficult to have these discussions. So why is there a need to talk about this? According to the organization conversation.org., it is best to begin discussions as early as the age of 18. In the event you find yourself in an unexpected health crisis, the earlier your wishes are documented, the better. It is natural for us to steer clear of conversations about death and dying; it is scary to consider! So how does one know when to address this very difficult topic?

When we address the end of our lives, we hope it is peaceful and that we and our loved ones feel comforted both mentally and physically by family, friends and the health professionals. That sounds like an ideal end of life story but, unfortunately, that is not always the reality when dealing with end of life decisions. It takes planning for your wishes to be carried out. Making your wishes and those of your family members known can ensure an end of life that is more dignified, peaceful and carried out the way you envisioned.

So how does one address this “Elephant in the room”? There are 6 steps to begin the conversation according to begintheconversation.org:

  • Educate- Now is the time to educate about yourself and your family about advance care planning
  • Prepare- Remember, it is better to be prepare 10 years too early than 1 day too late.
  • Communicate-Be open to discussing with other family and friends why you decided to begin the conversation
  • Document- Always get it in writing! With advance care planning forms, your wishes are 85% more likely to be honored.
  • Act-Take Action as soon as possible
  • Empower- Encourage others to begin the conversation about advance directives

Compassion & Choices is the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end-of-life. For more than 30 years, they have increased people’s quality of life and given them added peace of mind in their final days — even when injury or illness takes their voice. They work to change attitudes, practices and policies so that everyone can access the information and options they need to have more control and comfort in their final days.

Compassion & Choices envisions a society in which everyone receives state-of-the-art care at the end of life, and a full range of choices for dying in comfort, dignity and control. They engage their mission through three main pillars of service: end-of-life consultation, educational programs, and legislative/legal advocacy

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