The end-of-life is an experience we all must endure, but many are unprepared to deal with it. Few people are comfortable talking about death – their own death, or that of a loved one. The end-of-life brings a sense of loss and sadness, so planning for it is hard. Many people don’t know where to begin.
Planning Ahead Checklist
Planning ahead can help ensure that your wishes are honored before and after your death. It can provide guidance and direction for your loved ones if they are tasked with decisions about your end-of-life care. The following checklist can help you make a good end-of-life plan:
- Gather information to help you make decisions about your end of life.
- Learn what end-of-life services are available for your medical care.
- Talk to your loved ones about your end-of-life concerns and decisions.
- Talk to your doctor about your end-of-life treatment options.
- Communicate your end-of-life wishes with advance care planning.
- Complete a living will, medical power of attorney, and other advance directives.
- Discuss your decisions with your loved ones, doctors, or health care agents.
- Repeat the discussion whenever your medical condition changes.
- Make sure your advance directives are easily accessible to you and your loved ones.
- Give copies of your signed originals to anyone who is involved in your health care (family, friends, pastor, doctor, health care agent, or alternate agents).
- Assess your financial situation and determine what end-of-life goals involve money.
- Learn about the costs of end-of-life care and talk to your loved ones about them.
- Decide how your medical bills and expenses will be paid if you cannot pay for them.
- Decide how your money and possessions will be transferred to others after your death.
- Appoint someone close to you with power of attorney to handle your money when you can no longer do so.
- Plan the details of your funeral or memorial service.
Planning Will Help Your Loved Ones
Planning for death can be hard for you and your loved ones. The end of life, no matter how long or well lived, brings sadness and grief. End-of-life planning can be a gift to your loved ones by helping them during a difficult time. It also protects and honors your wishes.
Stay Organized With Lists
Lists can help you stay organized, and they can also help you in an emergency. Take some time to make lists of important information, and store them in a notebook. Make sure the notebook is clearly marked and keep it where other people can easily find it. This will help them know what to do and where to find things.
For example, make a list of everything you need for the morning routine such as bathing and grooming items, clothing, and medications. Buy several of each item and keep them close at hand. This can save you a lot of time when you’re helping someone. It keeps you from having to leave them alone while you search for an item. If you use an item in more than one place, such as the bedroom and bathroom, have duplicate items in each room.
Here are other examples of lists to make and keep in your notebook:
- Health care providers with their addresses, telephone numbers, and areas of expertise.
- Home health care agencies with provider names and telephone numbers.
- Other people who can fill in as caregivers when you need assistance.
- Attorneys, bankers, financial advisors, and other professionals.
- Location of medical equipment, such as blood pressure monitors and thermometer.
- Location of medications and when they should be taken.
- Exercise or therapy schedules and locations with directions.
- Emergency contacts, addresses and phone numbers (in addition to 911).