Difficult Discussions Can Be Easier
Thinking about your advance directive (i.e. healthcare decisions, end-of-life planning, and future planning) can be overwhelming and difficult. Why? No one wants to talk about something that is so far away and viewed as a scary experience. Is it so far away? Does it really have to be scary? As an end-of-life care resource, Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to share a new perspective on advance directives.
Our team sees people every day dealing with some of the most difficult decisions they may ever have to make. Difficult discussions can be easier, but an element of planning is involved. First, let’s address the questions above which refer to the “difficult part.” No one really knows when or how a person will die. Further, the topic of death doesn’t have to be scary. Talking about it doesn’t bring it closer. Talking about these topics and preparing advance directives can help ease the stress and “unknowns” of dying because it will ensure YOUR end-of-life wishes are carried out when that time comes. It will also relieve family of having to make decisions under pressure. Both pave a path for a more peaceful end-of-life journey for you and your loved ones. Next, we have provided a few suggestions for making something that seems difficult, a little easier.
- Start with advance directives. They can be discussed at any time and any age. Rather than discussing during a crisis, discuss it early. It’s not as scary to talk about anything before it happens.
- Be open-minded and be the first to open the conversation. When talking about end-of-life decisions, be positive about a long healthy life; Discuss the topics on a more regular basis; Consider the end-of-life to be a celebration of a lifelong journey, rather than an ending.
- Have a family dinner or schedule a meeting with a professional attorney or Hospice of Southern Illinois’ counselor. Making sure those closest to you know what your wishes are is very important. If everyone is on the same page, there will be less confusion and more collaboration.
- Ask some thought provoking questions while driving that are a little lighter in nature:Do you have a healthcare power of attorney and living will?
- Where did you go to make your plan official? Who did you talk to first about a living will and healthcare power of attorney?
- What are some “to-dos” on your bucket list? Usually these answers are fun things people want to accomplish. It could lead to more serious topics.
- Gather resources and be your family advocate. Share a Facebook Post, send a YouTube video, or send some conversation-starting questions over email.
- Explain to your significant other, family, or friends you are talking to how important it is to you to be able to honor their wishes, when the time comes. It is a serious topic, but if taken care of early, and correctly, the future can be less worrisome and more enjoyable.
Visit www.hospice.org for more information. For an idea to start the conversation, sign our Virtual “Before I die…” Wall, https://hospice.org/signthewall.