In previous postings we have exhorted you, dear reader, to make sure you have a living will or an advance medical directive so that your loved ones and your doctor will know what kind of care and, eventually, death you wish to have.
In the past we have referred you to Five Wishes and to the Annual Health Care Decisions Day (the next one is April 16, 2013) as important resources. But instructions and documents are not enough. The process is incomplete without a conversation with your children, your parents, spouse or anyone whom you want involved in your end of life care.
Completing an Advance Medical Directive can be a challenge. But what people often find more difficult is the conversation that needs to take place before preparing the document.
Let’s face it: Too many people are dying in ways they wouldn’t choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain.
Which brings me to The Conversation Project. Founded by the noted columnist and writer Ellen Wilson, it is a resource to guide us through the often sensitive process of discussing end of life plans with loved ones. Ellen writes that she didn’t have this conversation with her Mother before she got dementia. As a result she was faced with myriad decisions she had no way to resolve because she never had “the conversation” with her Mom.
For those of you who are unsure when and how to have the conversation with a loved one, check out www.theconversationproject.org. It features an easy-to-download guide to initiating and carrying out these talks that should make the process much easier.