We often urge people to begin planning for end of life care, and researching care options like hospice and palliative care well before they or their loved ones actually need it. This way, your research can be conducted with less stress, and you can take your time interviewing medical professionals, discussing your options with your family, and ensuring you're making the right choices. That process typically begins with an open conversation about death and dying, which is a topic that many of us shy away from for as long as possible. Death isn't seen as a fun topic to discuss, but a conversation with your loved ones about your wishes, needs, and hopes is extremely valuable. Here are a few reasons why.
There are typically two groups that are in desperate need of a frank, open discussion about death. First is the individuals who have thought about it themselves, made some decisions, but haven't communicated those choices to their family or doctor. This group risks becoming ill and not being able to tell those around them how they'd like to be treated. The other group is the individuals who have completely avoided thinking about death, end of life medical care, and other arrangements. This group risks creating a stressful, confusing experience for their loved ones when they near death. Both groups need to plan a discussion about their death, but what should be discussed and decided? Run through these common questions and communicate your choices:
- Do I have a will in place?
- Do I have plans or specific wishes for my funeral?
- What type of medical care do I want to receive?
- Do I want to be an organ donor?
- Have I planned for financial and tax issues?
- Am I properly insured?
- Have I put these wishes in writing, and communicated them to my family and physician?
Thinking about these topics and discussing them isn't only about planning for your death. There's also the benefit that thinking along these lines can illuminate opportunities that help you live better. You may begin to put more emphasis on having buket list type experiences. You may stop putting off that once in a lifetime trip, or finally learn a skill you've been dreaming about. Talking about death and dying can help you see clearly what regrets you'd have if your life ended today. If that leads to amazing experiences, or reconnecting with loved ones you've lost touched with, it makes your conversation about death well worth it.
When an individual gets ill, it's often a stressful time for everyone involved. Making these plans ahead of time, and discussing them with your loved ones, greatly reduces these stressful moments for you and your family. Having this conversation can even help to identify concerns that you or others may already be stressed about. Once identified, you can be sure to make plans and alleviate that stress. Then, once your decisions are needed, your family will already have plans in place and can spend more time with you and less time scrambling to make arrangements.
To learn about hospice and palliative care in Oklahoma, contact us at Cura-HPC: 800-797-3839.