Have YOU had ‘The Conversation’??



For the last 10 years I have devoted my work life to helping people get their affairs in order, BEFORE a crisis happens. I wrote the What if … Workbook (a fill in the blank, organizational guide) in 2005, and have been using it as a resource since 2006: selling it from this website in hard copy or ebook, and offering workshops and presentations around it, sharing my What if … philosophy: 1. WRITE DOWN your important information,
2. COMMUNICATE to a trusted loved one where this information is located, and 3. LIVE YOUR LIFE FULLY, knowing you have given them a huge gift, the GIFT OF PREPAREDNESS. Included in the Workbook: who to contact, financial information, location of imperative documents, final wishes, medical history, and much more. 

A huge part of being prepared is choosing a Heath Care Agent, who is that person who will make your medical decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself. Here in Massachusetts we use a Health Care Proxy form to designate that individual, along with an alternate. Studies show that most people never have ‘the conversation’ about their end of life wishes. When a difficult decision has to be made for a loved one regarding a medical intervention, a family can be torn apart when confronted with the decision to move forward with what could be a very invasive medical intervention … or doing nothing, and letting nature take its course. Quality of life is at issue here. Everyone has their own thoughts on their end of life wishes, and there is no correct answer. Just the individual’s personal opinion  on what they would want done. I have heard numerous stories on how knowing their loved one’s end of life wishes was a saving grace to the family, and how NOT knowing was a nightmare, and so, so very difficult to know what to do. Two excellent resources to help you through this very personal and crucial undertaking, and to help you communicate your wishes to your Health Care Agent, are Five Wishes, which can be found at www.agingwithdignity.org, or www.theconversationproject.org

I was thrilled to see the front page article in the May 12th Boston Globe entitled: Dying wishes often unspoken, unmet. A state wide Massachusetts survey revealed “widespread failure by doctors and patients to prepare for illness and death. Consider: One-third of people with a relative who had died recently said that medical professionals did not fully carry out the dying person’s wishes, according to the survey.” A consortium consisting of 58 health care groups, called The Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care, has been organized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, bringing together leaders with the goal of improving end-of-life care. The Boston Globe article is wonderful and I am thrilled that the initiative is under way! 
Have YOU had ‘the conversation’ with your loved ones?? I would love to hear your stories about how important it was to actually KNOW your loved ones wishes, or … how heart breaking it was NOT knowing.

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