Like most people, we used to think topics such as death and dying, living wills, wills, hospice, and end of life planning were vague concepts that were just for “old people” or “other people”. As we’ve learned more, we have found them to be incredibly relevant topics for every person to consider.
Contrary to our earlier view, planning for these things is not creepy, weird or an indication of a death obsession. Thinking about your own mortality is healthy, and thinking about your wishes for the end of your life actually allows you to LIVE, more freely.
We have included some resources here that we found helpful in the process. A summary of each topic is below, with dedicated pages also exploring each topic further.
We encourage you to learn more, talk about this and get a plan in place with your loved ones. (Don’t just read this and say “I should really do that some time” – Go do it!)
A Living Will is a legal document. It is also referred to as “Advance Health Care Directive”. It is basically an official statement, signed by you, that explains the decisions you would like made about your health care in the event you are unable to communicate them yourself at the relevant time. Once you have this document prepared, you’ll want your family and loved ones to have a copy, as well as your doctor(s).
Leaving a detailed plan in place through your living will has many benefits – it ensures you receive the care you want, and also prevents your loved ones from having the hard task of deciding (or agreeing) on the care specifics you would have chosen for yourself.
Hospice is a philosophy of care that provides palliative support, which is generally a welcome source of comfort, care and compassion to a terminally ill or injured patient. Hospice care focuses on keeping the patient as pain free as possible, and ensuring their needs are met through the dying process. The treatment’s goal is to enhance quality of life rather than focusing on increasing the quantity of days remaining. Hospice also provides services to the family, caregivers and loved ones of the patient.