Planning for End-of-Life Care

Planning for End-of-Life Care

Article posted in Values-Based on 27 February 2018| comments
audience: National Publication | last updated: 2 March 2018


Planning for end of life matters is a difficult but necessary process. It is an opportunity to discuss gifting as well as other important life decisions.

Designating end-of-life care involves making a lot of important decisions, and it’s an important step in planning for your future. People often postpone end-of-life planning due to not wanting to think about life nearing its end. However, there are a lot of factors to consider for end-of-life care and it’s important to give each of them enough consideration to ensure you’re coming to the best decisions for you and your loved ones.

Designate a Power of Attorney

Taking the time to analyze end-of-life decisions before they become immediate concerns will help protect your family from a situation where they are not only scared, but clueless as to what to do next. Designating someone you trust as a power-of-attorney to attend to your medical decisions if you are physically unable to do so will provide consolation to your family by reassuring them that they are making the decisions you wanted, which will ease their emotional burden during this difficult time.

Create a Living Will

Most people don’t realize that their chances of needing long-term care by age 65 are as high as 70 percent, according to an infographic from Bradley University. With such a large portion of our population in a vulnerable state as they get older, it’s important to make decisions sooner than later about the kind of care you want to receive as you age.

A living will is a written statement regarding a person’s desired medical treatment in circumstances when they are no longer able to consent. They became commonplace due to the unnecessarily prolonged, painful, expensive, and emotionally taxing experience that end-of-life care created for both patients and their families. Creating a living will, or an advanced directive for medical care will ensure the patient receives the kind of treatment they want under extenuating circumstances and will help the family accept the patient’s premeditated wishes.

Consider Organ Donation

Organ donation can be a big decision for some individuals, especially those with conflicting religious beliefs, or it can be as easy as checking a box when getting your driver’s license. Whether or not you want to be an organ donor can also be included in your living will or communicated to your power of attorney, as they will be responsible for making decisions once you’re gone. You can choose to donate your organs to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), where they will be distributed to those who need them most, or you could choose to donate your body to science.

Select Hospice Care

Hospice is an important consideration due to our quickly growing senior population. According to Bradley University, in 2016, our senior population was about 48 million people; by 2060, it is expected that population will double to almost 100 million people over the age of 65. Ninety percent of individuals over 65 years old suffered from at least one chronic disease in 2016 — and about 20 percent were living with five or more different chronic conditions, which are circumstances that often require individuals to receive extra care.

Healthcare costs can be extremely high and create a barrier to receiving access to care that people need. Although cost of care is likely the last thing anyone wants to think about when they’re worried about chronic disease and terminal illness, planning out what kind of care you will receive in the future will ensure you are satisfied with the quality of care you are receiving, such as public versus private care.

Make Funeral Arrangements

The loss of a family member is one of the most difficult life events that people go through. These situations are scary enough without worrying about paying for medical bills and funeral costs, which can be expensive. Whether or not you have some kind of life insurance to ease this burden, the process is easier if you already have a plan for your family to follow, such as deciding whether you want to be cremated or buried.

Planning for end-of-life care can consist of some heart-wrenching conversations and scary considerations but it saves a lot of burdensome decision-making for everyone in the future. You’ll have a chance to make sure you are comfortable with the care you receive in the future and for your family to make choices for your assets that you would have wanted. End-of-life planning will provide you with more independence in the long run and will prepare you for whatever the future holds.

Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.

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