Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Your Last List

Anyone can make long lists of things they don't want to do. On the top of mine you'd find colonoscopies, but after participating in #EOL chats with @DrBeckerSchutte over the past year and the #HCLDR chat from November 26th it's evident that making my wishes for the end of life known is what really stands at the top of the list.

Obviously this is not my stone but it was a surprise and a warning note to see it.

Having worked in a bank for years when I was young I am well versed in starting a conversation about wills and executors. The main reason that resonates with people is that if you don't make your own choices about your money and possessions in a will, the government will step in and take care of it for you. That's not a popular choice.

As for executors, that too can be a delicate problem that can tear families apart.  And yet people take far more care planning the financial issues than they do with their lives.

The quality of life you have at the end of it depends on choices that are made, and who knows better what you want than you yourself. 

My dad set a great example of planning. He made sure that he had done a Power of Attorney for both financial and health decisions for himself and my mom, as well as a will. He also planned his funeral and hers in as much detail as made sense. This was a huge relief when they did die. We could concentrate on family, not the business of funerals.

It was wise of him to do this early. No one could have foreseen my mom's stroke, and her long survival after my dad died.

So this is a call to people who read this to start having discussions about the end of life. 

It will happen to us all.  Studies show 80% prefer to die at home and yet 60% die in a hospital and only 20% die at home.  The figures for survival after CPR are dismal in the elderly - it's really meant for young healthy people.  If you have not chosen to "Allow Natural Death" (AND) or "Do Not Resuscitate" (DNR) you will get the full 'benefits' of modern medical technology even when you would die shortly no matter what is done.

More interesting reading.

How Do Physicians and Non-Physicians Want to Die?

The Other Talk - About talking to adult children about the way you want to live the rest of your life.

The information above is very influenced by the Tweetchats I mentioned, especially a tweet by @ChadCampbell119 when he said "I think including #EOL in basic education like we do with mammograms, colonoscopies etc. Preventative is better. Don't wait till too late."

He also Tweeted this link that discusses what to do with a loved one's online accounts after death. It's very relevant to those with a rich virtual presence.

See the One Slide Project and HealthBlawg for ideas about the questions you should be asking yourself and your loved ones. I jumped into this post with enthusiasm, not really absorbing the years-long tradition of the "Engage With Grace" Project each Thanksgiving. The answers to the "One Slide" will take you a long way towards a decision.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminder. This has been on my list of things to do for a very long time and I've avoided it. Time to stop that.

    My parents made pre-arrangements for their funerals and it was such a relief when my dad died. Alas, I can't afford that yet, so it'll stay on my list for a while.