5 things you need to know when planning your own end-of-life care

17 July 2023

Talking about end-of-life planning can be a sensitive topic, but it is essential to have these conversations to ensure that your wishes are respected and that your loved ones are not left to make difficult decisions on your behalf.

End-of-life planning involves making decisions about the type of medical treatment you would like to receive if you become seriously ill or incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions. It also includes planning for what will happen after you pass away, including funeral arrangements and other important decisions.

Here are five things to think about when planning your end-of-life care:

1. Understand your options

It's crucial to know what options are available to you when planning end-of-life care.

For example, you may choose to receive life-prolonging medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or mechanical ventilation, or you may prefer to focus on palliative care, which is designed to improve your quality of life and manage symptoms. Hospice care is another option that provides support for terminally ill patients and their families in the final stages of life. Understanding your options and discussing them with your doctor and family members can help you make informed decisions about the type of care you want to receive.

It's also critical that you create a legal will, so that your wishes are respected after you’re gone. This is particularly important for ensuring the friends and family you wish to pass your estate on to, receive what you want them to.

Being prepared and planning ahead is crucial so you or your loved ones aren’t hit with any surprises. For more tips on what to look out for when planning ahead, click here.

2. Choose a healthcare proxy

A healthcare proxy is a person you appoint to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. It's important to choose someone who understands your wishes and is willing to advocate for you.

You should also discuss your end-of-life care preferences with your healthcare proxy, so they are aware of your wishes and can make informed decisions if necessary.

3. Use the end of your life as an opportunity to celebrate

Creating an end-of-life book through a service like MyLifebook can be a unique opportunity to celebrate your life, accomplishments, and relationships with your loved ones. It can be a chance to reflect on your values, beliefs, and experiences and share them with those closest to you.

You can include photos and memories of significant events, people who have impacted your life, and your favourite hobbies and interests. Additionally, you can write personal messages and letters to your loved ones expressing your gratitude, love, and appreciation.

Creating an end-of-life book can be a way to leave a lasting legacy and help your loved ones remember and celebrate your life long after you're gone. It can also provide you with a sense of peace and fulfilment, knowing that you've taken the time to reflect on your life and share it with those you love.

4. Consider spiritual and emotional needs

End-of-life care planning is not just about medical treatment, it's also about addressing your spiritual and emotional needs, and those of the people around you.

You may want to consider seeking spiritual guidance or talking to a counsellor to help you cope with end-of-life issues. It's also important to talk to your family members about your needs and wishes, and how they can support you during this time.

5. Review and Update Your Plan Regularly

Your end-of-life care plan should be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect any changes in your health or personal preferences. You may also need to update your plan if you make changes to your healthcare proxy or will.

Pre-paying for your end-of-life care or funeral arrangement can provide great peace of mind to your friends and family, but it’s important to keep your plan updated to ensure any variations in cost are accounted for over time. If you need help planning for costs, you can read more here.

Regularly reviewing and updating your plan can also help ensure that your wishes are respected and that your loved ones are prepared to make informed decisions on your behalf.

In conclusion, end-of-life care planning is an essential part of life that everyone should consider. Understanding your options, choosing a healthcare proxy, creating a will, considering spiritual and emotional needs, and reviewing and updating your plan regularly are essential steps in planning for the end of life.

By taking the time to plan and communicate your wishes, you can ensure that your loved ones are prepared to make informed decisions on your behalf and that your wishes are respected during this difficult time.

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