Dying is not something we like to think about. We’ll worry about it when it happens to us. Which is a long long time in the future, because, you know, we all are going to live to 101.
Well my friends, the fact is that none of us know when we are going to die, and unfortunately for a lot of us, it will involve dementia and perhaps a battle with cancer.
Don’t close this blog yet! I promise I have a vital tool to share with you.
You need to think about what would happen to you if you had an accident or a disease that made it impossible for you to communicate your wishes for medical care. If you were unable to make decisions for yourself, how would you wish to be cared for medically?
Please don’t say- I’ll let my family worry about it. Your body is exactly that – yours and you need to step up and take responsibility for how you wish to be cared for in the event of an accident, a terminal or life limiting illness or in the case of cognitive decline.
Why? Because your family and loved ones will be stressed enough over your situation that they will find it difficult to make tough decisions. They will wish that you had made it clear for them.
Caitlin Dougherty of the Order of the Good Death has made a short video about Advanced Healthcare Directives, and why they are important for YOU.
Please note that the information contained in this video is relevant to all countries, but the specifics will vary from country to country. As Caitlin says, just google “Advanced Directive xxxx ” (Space for the country you live in). I have a whole section of my website dedicated to it:
http://katische.com/writing/advanced-care-plans which includes links to the specific forms you need if you are living in Australia.
Here’s a copy of the specific attachment that I included in addition to my advanced directive. I did this because I specifically wanted to deal with the issue of dementia. I am not saying that you should agree with my decisions in relation to my care should I have dementia. I am asking you to do the hard work and think about what it would be like to have dementia, and importantly what it would be like for your family to care for you if you have dementia.
Do the hard work. Watch some movies, read books about the topic, go visit a nursing home, talk about it with your religious leader and your family, and then make your decision.
This document should be reviewed periodically to ensure your wishes have not changed. My GP has a signed copy and it is filed and stored with my will with my lawyers. My power of attorney also has a copy of these documents.
Oh, and if you don’t have a will, please understand you are on Santa’s naughty list. There’s only 166 days until Christmas, so get to it!