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

We know that preparing for end of a life is a difficult conversation to have, and many do not want to think about or consider these decisions when health is good. When we are Young and healthy, the end of life is probably the farthest thing from our mind. Often, these discussions take place in the midst of a major health concern when it is even more difficult to have end of life discussions.

So why should we be talking about this? It is recommended that discussion begin as early as the age of 18 according the organization conversation.org. Life is unpredictable, and anything can happen to us at any time in our lives. The earlier your wishes are documented the better off you and your family will be in case you find yourself in an unexpected health crisis. Many of us avoid conversations about death and dying; after all, it is scary to think about! So how does one know when to address this very difficult topic? How on Earth do you bring this up?!

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, it may not always be the reality. There are many considerations when dealing with end of life decisions, and in order to have your wishes carried out it takes some planning. Having 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 the “Elephant in the room”? According to begintheconversation.org there are 6 steps to begin the conversation:

  • 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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