End of life planning, Hospice & grief support
One of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones and yourself, is to discuss, plan and put in writing your end-of-life wishes.
The single indisputable fact we have learned;
No one is guaranteed tomorrow
The passing of both Ted Williams and Terri Schiavo highlighted the importance of making sure that your personal wishes are known and documented so they can followed in the event that you can no longer represent yourself. At Eternal Reefs, we’ve received numerous inquires and questions about issues like living wills and final directives. We are not legal experts and do not represent that any of the following information is legal advice. Each state has differing laws and in some cases terminology. It is important to check the laws and legal requirements of your state as you prepare to address these critically important decisions.
In the short 14 years Eternal Reefs has been around, we have learned a great deal about end-of-life issues. We have seen families that have been fully prepared to deal with and complete their loved ones’ final wishes from the time they could no longer advocate for themselves. We have also worked with families that had no idea what their loved one wanted and what the right decisions they had to make should be. We learned that no one is guaranteed tomorrow.
Starting the end-of-life discussion
It starts with having “The Conversation”…sitting down with family and friends you love, who will be responsible for following your wishes and talking through everything you want to have happen once you can no longer advocate and speak for yourself. Many people struggle with how to start this discussion and so never have it. There is a website, theconversationproject.org that can help provide the tools to make this discussion easier.
End-of-life Planning Guide
There are a number of issues to consider and discuss. One part of the discussion needs to address what you want done if you are still living and unable to communicate. Do you want to be kept alive as long as possible, or do you wish not to have any extraordinary measures taken to keep you alive? A complete guide called “THE FIVE WISHES” to these questions and issues can be found on The Aging with Dignity website at agingwithdignity.org. This planning guide can also be used as a legally binding document for end-of-life issues in more than 40 states.
From a personal perspective I would hope that many of you will consider organ donation. A lot of people talk about being an organ donor and just never get around to putting the decision in writing. They may think that it can only be done when you renew your driver’s license, and that is not the case. This is a link to help you better understand the need for organ donation and how to go about setting up the directives; organdonor.gov
Another question to consider is the use of hospice. The concept of Hospice was founded with the idea of providing quality care while making the final days of a terminally ill person, and their families one of dignity and peace. Hospice services vary considerably and should researched. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is a great place to start; nhpco.org . Hospice services can be a huge benefit and relief for you and your family.
Grief and grief management
Dealing with a loss can be a very difficult journey for many people. Identifying and managing grief may require professional guidance.
For information on death and grief counseling we recommend contacting: The Association for Death Education and Counseling. They can be found at adec.org and can point you towards resources in your community.
We hope you find these sites and this information useful.