End of Life Planning
Why is End of Life Planning Important?
For many people, the thought of the end of their lives is so scary that they'd rather not think about it. However, it is important to be proactive since none of us know when our “expiration date’ is going to be. This helps to ensure that your wishes are followed, and it has many other benefits, as well. Despite all of our medical advances, the mortality rate remains at 100%!
End-of-life begins with health care advance planning. It involves directives for cases of catastrophic illness, mental incapacitation, and related possibilities. When done properly, you can gain the peace of mind of knowing that your desires and beliefs about life support and other medical treatments are respected. Providing some direction in a personal statement expressing your wishes in your own words can go a long way in supporting your decision-makers. The most important piece of your health care directives is your Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA) form that assigns an agent (decision maker) to be your spokesperson if you are unable to speak for yourself.
In some cases, end-of-life planning also helps to prevent feuds within your family. If there is no direction, and your family members have opposing beliefs about critical decisions, it can lead to family discord.
Funeral planning is important for many of the same reasons. There are many other options for the disposition of a body beyond traditional burial and cremation, many that are more environmentally friendly. Again, it is a gift to your loved ones to have made many decisions ahead of time. Your family will be grateful to be able to honor your wishes, and not have to figure out what you might have wanted. Of course, since a funeral is mostly for the living, do take into consideration what will support those you are leaving behind.
Give your family the gift of communicating advance care planning and funeral planning wishes ahead of time, by ongoing conversations and in your written directions. They won't have to guess what you would want. And they’ll be happy for the direction and the opportunity to honor your wishes. And you will be more likely to get the type of treatment that you would prefer.