No one likes to think about their own death, but it’s essential that you start planning for the end of your life sooner rather than later. Creating an end of life plan and discussing your parent’s wishes can help ensure everyone knows what is important to them in case something happens. Having end of life planning conversations early on can make a challenging topic much easier as you age. Knowing what is important to them will also give their children peace of mind as they begin to build their own homes and families. This article will introduce you to the benefits of end-of-life planning and give tips on how to have those conversations with your parents.
What is End of Life Planning?
End of life planning is the process of making decisions about your medical care and finances should something happen that prevents you from making those decisions yourself. This includes things like organ donation and burial or cremation arrangements. End of life planning is not only important for people with serious illnesses or people with chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer or asthma, but it is also important to consider making life plans at any age, whether you are just beginning your family or you are getting along in years. Life planning is beneficial to everyone. Advance directives are the documents that make up most of the end of life plan. There are two types of advance directives: a Medical advance care directive and a financial advance directive. You can create an advance care directive with a health care agent and an attorney to help you make plans about your medical care and financial decisions.
What to include in your end of life plan
An advance care directive outlines your medical wishes, such as whether or not you want to be resuscitated or put on a breathing machine if you are in a coma. If you have a living will, it will outline your medical wishes when you are not able to make them yourself. This includes whether or not you want to be kept on life support if you are terminally ill, on a ventilator, or unable to swallow or eat. If you have appointed a Power of Attorney (POA), they can make these decisions for you. If you don’t have a (POA), your loved ones will have to decide.
5 Benefits of End of Life Planning
- You can make your wishes known. Whether you want to donate your organs or be kept on life support, your advance care directive will make your wishes known.
- You can make decisions about your financial affairs. If you have an advance financial directive, your loved ones will have guidance on how to manage your finances and bills.
- Your loved ones will know what to expect. If everything is outlined in your advance care directive, your loved ones will know what to expect when they have to make difficult decisions.
- You will save your loved ones time and money. Your advance care directive will outline where important documents are and give your loved ones information on how to access your finances if needed.
- End of life planning can improve your quality of life. If you have a serious medical condition, sometimes you and your doctor can agree to reduce or stop treatment that is prolonging your life. This is called hospice care. Your advance care directive can outline when you want to go on hospice so that your loved ones will know when this is the right time for you.
4 Steps to Having the Conversation with Your Parents
- Start early. You don’t want to wait until a crisis occurs to have these difficult conversations. The earlier you start, the easier the conversation will be.
- Let them know you love them, and that you want them to be comfortable. Your parents want what is best for you, so they will choose to make things easier for you by making these plans and wishes known.