"People have kind of an alarming tendency to believe after they've had a discussion with the spouse about their end-of-life preferences that their spouse understands what their end-of-life preferences is," says Sara M. Moorman, an assistant professor at Boston College's Department of Sociology and Institute on Aging. "It remains to be seen whether that is the case, and it probably isn't."
Moorman says seniors who confront end-of-life issues often discover that their wishes turn on whether their death is more about them or the loved ones they leave behind. "Do you care more about what happens to you?" she asks. "Or do you care more about what happens to your loved ones when you're about to die in a few days? It turns out that a lot of people's preferences for end of life have to do with not wanting to be a burden to somebody else."
The first, and often hardest, step toward creating final directives, experts agree, is having an extended conversation about how you want to be treated at the end of your life. The purpose of identifying your personal medical preferences is to help define and put into perspective what quality of life means to you. Answer these thought provoking questions as you complete your advanced directive, medical power of attorney and out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate order. This scope of treatment request does not replace the above documents but will assist your loved ones or health care appointee in knowing your wishes.
What are your goals, for future medical treatment?
Whats really important in your life?
Whats more important to you than anything, other than living longer?
What are your priorities if your time is limited?
What are you fearful or scared of, as it relates to your medical care?
What are the trade-offs you're willing to accept as a result of care?
How far do you want any treatments to go?
Ask for our Advance Directives Tool Kit, to include a Carry Out My Wishes document, Texas Advance Directive, Medical Power of Attorney, Out-of-Hospital Do-Not Resuscitate Order.
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