The Importance of Talking about End-of-Life Issues

This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman, who writes on the topics of nursing colleges.ξ She welcomes your comments at her email Id:
At some point, each and every one of us will face the end. Some of us are terrified of it. Others of us are comfortable with the knowledge. Some even welcome it. Each of us probably has specific visions regarding how we want the last few years of our lives to be, and some of us even know what to expect after we die.
However, many of our closest family members might not fully understand our desires regarding the end of our life and after. This is exactly why it is important to have a discussion with your family about the end of your life and the final period of time leading up to you. Otherwise, your family will be stressed out with trying to figure out what you most desired. During sad times, this is often too much to handle.
And on the other side of the coin, there is this to consider: many of us will also face that day when one of our loved ones will soon pass. Sooner or later, we will have to broach the issue with our elderly loved one. Although this may be painful to bring up first, it can save your entire family a lot of heart ache as well.
Unfortunately, in both cases, initiating the discussion is almost harder than having the discussion itself. So, how specifically can you talk to your family or loved one about end-of-life issues?
Well, for starters, there is the whole matter of medical care that is extremely important. You should research what sort of options you have as far as how end-of-life care, especially in cases of sickness and hospitalization. The family will need guidance on this matter. Do you or the dying wish to receive hospice care? How should the family approach matters of health should you or your loved one suffer a debilitating stroke? What about matters of dementia or Alzheimer’s? Think about some worst case scenarios, if you’re comfortable doing so, and then raise the subject with the rest of your family.
Next, you should talk with your family about posthumous desires. How do you or your loved one wish to be memorialized: buried or cremated or some other options? Where do you or your loved one wish for this to occur? If you can, nail down the specifics of the memorial ceremony before it’s too late. That way, the entire family can focus on grieving, while a professional handles the administrative aspects of the mourning process. This too will relieve the family of the strain of arguing over how the deceased would wish to be memorialized.
And finally, you should put all your life in order. Keep a file that you can hand to your children that will specific every detail of your life that they will need to know after you have passed. Or, request that your parents create a file for themselves. This, of course, should supplement a will; in this file, for example, keep all of the information about accounts you have: your children will need them to deal with banks, insurance agencies, any online accounts you have (like Facebook), and other things in which you participated. Include instructions to have a certain number of copies of the death certificate handy to pass along to any companies, such as an insurance company, that will need them in order to transfer accounts to the rest of the family. Look into what other specific and administrative responsibilities the family with face and leave them clear instructions.
Ultimately, this is a matter that should be raised earlier, before it’s too late. Even though it can be an awkward discussion to have, it can save the rest of the family much more heartache once the grieving process arrives.
So let’s consider this: what have you done to open up discussion with a loved one about end-of-life issues? How have you and your family approached this topic so far?