Most people, given the chance, would prefer to die quietly at home in their sleep after a full and happy life. Statistically speaking, however, only about 25% get that opportunity.
That’s what makes it so important to have an advance care directive in place. Like other responsible adults, you’ve done your due diligence and you have some clear ideas about what you do and do want when it comes to your final days.
Before you set your wishes in writing, however, you may want to talk to the following four people:
Your spiritual advisor
If you’re religious, it may be important to make sure that your end-of-life plans mesh with your faith’s teachings or doctrines. Even if that’s not a particular concern, you may have ethical, moral or faith-based questions about your plans that could be resolved through a conversation with your priest, rabbi, minister other spiritual advisor.
The agent with your health care power of attorney
The person who has your health care power of attorney is supposed to follow your wishes. However, you should make sure that they fully understand what you want and are comfortable making those calls. If, for example, the person you choose has a moral objection to withholding nutrition from you if you’re unconscious even though that’s what you want, you need to know while you can still make some changes.
Your primary care physician
Talking to your doctor about your end-of-life care can often demystify the process and make it easier to choose. If, for example, you aren’t sure about whether you should have a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order in place, getting your doctor’s take on the issue can provide much-needed clarity.
Your next of kin
Whether you have only one or two close family members or a large brood, discussing your end-of-life wishes ahead of time can make it easier for them to accept your decisions.
End-of-life and estate planning is often an ongoing process, so don’t be hesitant to seek more guidance as you go.