The conversation no one wants to have

The Conversation No One Wants To Have

Last updated: August 2017

There is a discussion that needs to take place, before it needs to take place.  Honestly, I wish that I had pushed this conversation years before we needed the information.  Please understand that if your doctor has begun to ask you if you have a Living Will or to have a discussion with your family about your final wishes, this does not mean that your doctor has given up on you.  Please hear me on this.  A doctor that brings this up really early is someone to be appreciated.  Trust me, you do not want to be trying to figure out what your loved one's wishes are in the middle of a crisis.

There are a few things that you need to take care of as early as possible.  Even a healthy person needs to take care of these responsibilities early in life, before the information is ever needed.

1.  Living will

A living will is a written statement that will outline what your loved one's wishes are concerning medical treatment and intervention.  For example, this document will state whether or not they want to have life support or be resuscitated.  This document is used when they cannot speak for themselves.  The medical staff will always speak to the patient first, if they are able to communicate.  This document is for times when communication is impossible.

Update your living will yearly.  Wishes change, and the only way to ensure that you are following your loved one's wishes is to ask.

2.  Life insurance

Do you have enough life insurance to take care of your expenses?  The last thing that you want to do is leave your family in debt just to pay for the funeral expenses.  Many times in advanced acute or terminal illness, getting life insurance is difficult, but it is worth finding one that will at least take care of the funeral and burial.

I know that this sounds morbid, but it is very important that you are prepared.  This is the last great thing that you can do for your family.  If you are close to your loved ones this will be difficult to talk about, difficult to do, but it will be much more difficult for the family if you have done nothing to prepare.

3.  Will

A will is a legal document stating your wishes after death.  It would include any beneficiaries of money and/or property.  A will generally will answer any arguments as long as it is kept current.

4.  Funeral arrangements

If you are able, having all of your arrangements made years in advance would be incredibly helpful.  Your loved ones will be grieving, and making basic decisions about your funeral will be very difficult at that time.  If you can make them all in advance, it will take that confusion and stress away and give your loved ones space to grieve.  You can go directly to the funeral home to make advanced arrangements.

Preparing for the end is a way that you can help your family through it all.  As a caregiver, be sure not to dismiss this as something far in the future.  Not only can the future move more quickly than you think, but as things progress, talking about these things will become harder.  Make these decisions early.  After that, you only need to update the information with changes.  Be prepared, for your loved ones.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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