Discussing the end of your life isn’t fun or exciting, but it is important. If you have specific instructions that you need to leave for your final days and the days after, you need to have this conversation sooner rather than later.
The end-of-life conversation is hard. Only around 27 percent of Americans have likely had this conversation, but 90 percent of people note that this is an important conversation to have. Ideally, you will have this discussion with anyone who is going to play a part in these days.
You should clearly outline who can make what decisions for you when you don’t have the ability to make them. The two primary type of decisions are medical and financial. The people who you choose here should have powers of attorney granted for the applicable type. These should be people who you trust with your life because the decisions they make can impact the remainder of your days.
One area that is often full of difficult decisions is your health care. Let your loved ones know exactly what types of medical interventions you want and which ones you are sure you don’t want. For example, don’t say “no life support” unless you mean that you don’t want anything that might prolong your life. Instead, note what aspects of life support you decline. You might refuse a ventilator, but you might not mind IV fluids and nutrition.
As you talk to your loved ones, give them a chance to ask questions. Right now is the only time that they can get answers to those. Use this time to ensure they fully understand your wishes.
Source: Oakland Post, “How to Have a Conversation About the End of Your Life,” Oct. 20, 2017