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Give a Gift That Keeps on Giving

Wednesday, February 29 2012 9:34 AM
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Think back on this past holiday season… Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day… maybe you received or gave a memorable gift. But have you thought about giving a gift that could be invaluable for your loved ones in a time of crisis? A gift that will continue to provide peace of mind for those you care about well into the future? That gift is discussing your healthcare wishes.

Do your children, family or friends know how you would want your healthcare matters to be handled in the event that you could not communicate those wishes for yourself? Too often, we wait for a crisis to bring family together to discuss how we want our medical care to be directed. During these stressful times, there are many decisions to be made in a critical time frame. Take the opportunity, when there’s less immediate urgency, to sit down and have a discussion about your wishes with those you love.

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. Common questions and concerns include: “How do I start this conversation without worrying my loved ones that something is wrong?” “Will they listen to what I have to say?” and, “I want our time together to be a happy time, not a time to talk about death and dying.”

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Use a family member’s or friend’s experience to approach the topic. For example: 

“Do you remember when Aunt May was sick and the family didn’t know what her wishes were when she couldn’t tell us anymore? While we’re all here together, I think we should go around the table and share one thing each of us would want everyone to know if we were sick or hurt and couldn’t speak for ourselves.” 

  • If you have a durable power of attorney for healthcare or a living will, discuss what is written in it with your family and why you made the choices you did. 
  • Talk about the things that are important to you as you age. For example: 

I want to go fishing and spend time with my grandchildren for as long as I can.
It would be really important to me, if I was ill, to fight and have treatment options.
If I were sick, I would rather have quality of life over quantity of life.
I would want to be surrounded by my friends and family if I was sick and dying.
My faith is important in my life.

 

At the Good Samaritan Society, we are here to help you start this conversation and many other conversations about your well-being and goals for your health.

By Jill Javers, LSW
Associate Director, Home- and Community-Based Services
Source: www.good-sam.com

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