Approaching End-Of-Life-Conversations

Avoiding uncomfortable conversations concerning death and end-of-life arrangements is a natural aspect of human behaviour. The main focus tends to be on enjoying the time that we do have left to spend in the company of our loved ones. While this may seem like a practical approach, and certainly a more pleasant one, it is not always what is best for your aging loved one. 

Reasons to Engage in End-of-Life Discussions

The results of multiple studies have shown that seniors who take part in cathartic end-of-life conversations with their families and healthcare professionals are significantly more likely to be satisfied with the care they receive in the ending stages of their lives.

Beneficial for Family and Caregivers

Putting all of the arrangements in place in advance with seniors’ wishes at the forefront has also been shown to reduce instances of depression experienced by their loved ones and caregivers. Rather than spending a lot of time and energy being concerned about whether they made the right choices on behalf of their loved ones, intentions will already have been made clear.

Should seniors become unable to make decisions and choices for themselves, family members and caregivers can feel confident that the decisions that have been made were made correctly, including last wishes and desires. Advanced end-of-life planning is pertinent to ensure the necessary arrangements are properly organized to help seniors and those who care for them to have as positive an experience as possible during the final weeks and days.

Initiating a Conversation

Starting a conversation early and engaging in planning far in advance may seem grim, as the idea of thinking about the end-of-life earlier than necessary can feel disheartening and negative. However, early preparation is actually the best thing that seniors and their loved ones can do to reduce stress and anxiety.

End-of-life decisions are already difficult enough to make, adding extra pressure by waiting until a challenging situation has already taken root is significantly more complicated. Rather than feeling lost and unsure of what to do should tragedy strike, seniors and their loved ones should already have all the essential details and arrangements in place. This way should an incident occur, energy can be directed towards tending to emotions, feelings, and support rather than to trying to make difficult decisions without any idea of how best to proceed.

Take it Slow

When you take the initiative of advanced planning for end-of-life circumstances, you have the luxury of taking things at your own pace.
It can be daunting to start a conversation that will likely be distressing and emotional for everyone involved, but taking it step-by-step until everything is in place will be really helpful in the long run. Having to rush things along can be frustrating and counterproductive.
Many individuals find it useful to seek guidance or advice from trusted friends, healthcare professionals, and other community resources for information concerning how to best proceed with open conversations about end-of-life issues.

Online Resources

Various options also exist online such as Speak Up Advance Care Planning that offer information, strategies, and guidance about approaching end-of-life conversations and advance planning.
Steps for Approaching End-Of-Life Care

The following are some general notions to keep in mind that can help make the advance planning process smooth and well organized:

Make a Plan

Planning and preparation are crucial when addressing such an emotionally charged issue. Not knowing where to start just adds to the stress and confusion of the situation. It can be helpful to start by making lists of everything that needs to be addressed, and then planning it out step by step.

Start by consulting resources and literature about the process and all it should involve. Decide who needs to be involved in the discussions and in what capacity, and make a game plan for how to move forward in a productive but manageable way. Developing a structured plan to determine each person’s role can help streamline the process and make it feel less stressful.

Talk to a Healthcare Professional

Doctors and healthcare professionals in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge can offer an insightful perspective on emergency care, treatment options, and other important elements of end-of-life care. This can help to make informed decisions that are critical for seniors and their loved ones moving forward. Many seniors find it helpful to ask for healthcare professionals’ point of view regarding the options for end-of-life so that they can consider all the options fully.

Get Things in Writing

Talking everything through is a huge and important step in planning for the end-of-life, but it shouldn’t end there. Making sure everything has been recorded in writing means that everyone will be on the same page to reduce arguments and disagreements.

Trying to remember the specifics of a conversation that may have occurred months or years before can lead to further complications. Ensuring every wish is written down and the important legal steps are taken care of is an incredibly important step.

Prepare Documents

There are a whole host of documents that are relevant to advanced planning and making arrangements for end-of-life care. Seniors and their loved ones should research things such as living wills, power of attorney for health care and finances, do-not-resuscitate orders (DNR), wills, living trusts, and other pertinent documents. Preparing these documents is part of the process of getting all decisions recorded and properly arranged, for when they are needed.

Discuss Hospice

Not everyone is aware of the option of Hospice care for the end-of-life, but it can be a valuable option for seniors and their families in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge to discuss when they are making end-of-life plans. Hospice Care offers medical care, spiritual resources, and emotional support for people who are facing terminal illnesses, and is certainly an option worth discussing.

Clarity and Closure

When it comes to end-of-life desires, there is no way to know what seniors want without asking them directly by starting a conversation that creates the opportunity to discuss options and share preferences.
While these types of conversations may be emotionally draining and challenging, it is the most effective way to make sure that seniors’ wishes are carried out and respected as best as possible. Dedicating adequate time to meaningful discussions in advance can improve the experience for seniors and for their loved ones too. Advanced planning helps eliminate uncertainty and doubt, to allow seniors and their families to simply enjoy the rest of the time they have together.

Beneficial for Family and Caregivers

Putting all of the arrangements in place in advance with seniors’ wishes at the forefront has also been shown to reduce instances of depression experienced by their loved ones and caregivers. Rather than spending a lot of time and energy being concerned about whether they made the right choices on behalf of their loved ones, intentions will already have been made clear.

Should seniors become unable to make decisions and choices for themselves, family members and caregivers can feel confident that the decisions that have been made were made correctly, including last wishes and desires. Advanced end-of-life planning is pertinent to ensure the necessary arrangements are properly organized to help seniors and those who care for them to have as positive an experience as possible during the final weeks and days.

Beneficial for Family and Caregivers

Putting all of the arrangements in place in advance with seniors’ wishes at the forefront has also been shown to reduce instances of depression experienced by their loved ones and caregivers. Rather than spending a lot of time and energy being concerned about whether they made the right choices on behalf of their loved ones, intentions will already have been made clear.

Should seniors become unable to make decisions and choices for themselves, family members and caregivers can feel confident that the decisions that have been made were made correctly, including last wishes and desires. Advanced end-of-life planning is pertinent to ensure the necessary arrangements are properly organized to help seniors and those who care for them to have as positive an experience as possible during the final weeks and days.

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