Making a List…Checking it Twice…
…..of Conversations to Have with Loved Ones over the Holidays…
We tend to put off or avoid those important conversations about planning for emergencies, living well and advance care planning. However what better time than over the holidays when family is together to start these conversations? When we are healthy and have some time…
Having conversations and preparing those that will need to help us and care for us, significantly reduces the stress of family members and community if we are ever faced with a life limiting illness as well as increasing everyone’s confidence that our wishes are met. Additionally, by planning ahead, crisis situations can be avoided and our quality of life and those close to us may be enhanced greatly.
Suggested Top 10 Conversations to have: (Please see below for links to further resources):Who needs to be contacted if there’s an emergency and I suddenly have to go to the hospital? Who will help look after the house, pets and who do I want notified? Who do I want to visit me if I was really sick?
Who is/are my Substitute Decision Maker(s) who will speak on my behalf if I am no longer able to communicate…(such as in the event of an accident, a stroke, loss of verbal skills due to dementia or other illness). Who is my Power of Attorney? Do these individuals know my values and wishes for care, for quality of living and even personal hygiene? Does everyone close to me know and understand about my Substitute Decision Maker(s) and important wishes?
Where are my important papers kept? Who knows this location? Who can access them in case of an emergency including passwords?
What’s still on my bucket list? What makes life meaningful for me? What simple pleasures will continue to make my life enjoyable as I enter my “sunset years”?
What plans have I made for my ‘sunset years”? What modifications or home renovations may need to be made? What things do I still need to think about and put in place and what supports do I hope to have?
What are some of the things I want to be remembered for and what legacies or important possessions have I set aside for certain people? Is there a list written down and where is it kept? Who is the executor of my will? Who are some of the people in my will and are they easy to locate and are the terms easy to carry out?
What personal health care wishes and values do I have as part of my advance care plan and what have I discussed with my health care provider?
What type of funeral or celebration of life have I envisioned? Who do I want involved in the planning? What plans have already been made? How will it all be paid for and what do I still need to think about?
What are some of the top things I hope to resolve before I die? (relationship, financial, property or spiritual matters or other important things I’ve been meaning to do…)
If my health seriously declines or as I approach my end of life, in the final weeks or days…What have I thought about for this time? Where do I want to be if it is possible? What music, poetry or literature will soothe me? (as I will likely still be able to hear even if I can no longer speak), what spiritual care and social companionship will bring me comfort?
Bruce Peninsula Hospice will be releasing a personal conversation planning guide in the New Year to further help our community have these important conversations!
Stay tuned and we wish you and your family a happy, healthy and meaningful holiday season!