Planning for a Good Death
One of the greatest taboos in our society is talking about death. It is the one certainty in our lives but most of us don’t give it serious consideration until it is too late.
We cannot choose what kills us but we can often influence how we die. Yet although most people want to die at home the majority actually end up spending their final hours in a hospital or care home bed. Not everyone can choose where they die as unexpected illness and accidents do happen but for the majority death is more predictable and they have time to plan.
This is known as advanced care planning. According to Dr Mark Porter there are four questions you should ask yourself:
1. Where do you want to die?
Most people would prefer to die in their own bed with most of the rest choosing a hospice. You may not get the choice but if you don’t express your wishes no one can help you fulfil them.
2. The Bucket List
Is there anything you would like to do or people you want to see? Putting things off is no good.
3. What sort of care do you want?
Some people would like everything possible done to preserve their lives. Most however would prefer minimum intervention and would not wish their life to be preserved artificially if they had no quality of life left. As long as you can make a decision that is your choice. However, frequently people in this position can no longer decide. Doctors use their professional judgement but are duty bound to err on the side of caution which may not fit with your wishes. Also social services may be actively involved in deciding what happens to your care. You can keep in control by appointing an attorney for Health and Welfare to make these decisions for you.
4. What should happen after you have died?
After your death those you leave behind will be grieving and at the same time be expected to make a lot of decisions. You can make it easier for them by communicating your funeral wishes and by making a Will which sets out how your assets are to be disposed of and under what conditions.
The outcome for you depends on what you do next. You can forget about this or decide to do something about it. Remember however that time and tide wait for no man.