Nursing Times reviews the five priorities for the care of dying people:
- recognizing that someone is dying
- communicating sensitively with them and those important to them
- involving them in decisions
- providing support
- creating an individualized plan of care and delivering it with compassion.
An important aspect of end-of-life care is comfort care. The goal – preventing and relieving suffering, improving quality of life while respecting the dying person’s wishes, the National Institute on Aging explains. A peaceful death means different things to different people; some might wish to be surrounded by family and friends; others would choose to be alone. Different people have different spiritual beliefs and may want to talk with a religious leader.
Physician and financial advisor Dr. Carolyn McClanahan thinks the conversation should not wait until someone is actually dying. In fact, she suggests having that end-of-life conversation with people in their 60s! “Though it’s a difficult conversation to have, families and caregivers should plan ahead for the financial burden of end-of-life care,” was the point McClanahan stressed at a recent investment conference.
At Geyer Law, we agree. In fact, the entire concept of estate planning involves documenting your wishes and ensuring control over your assets in case of incapacitation or death. From a financial point of view, estate planning involves assessing your financial resources and establishing a plan for lifelong care one that does not deplete all your hard-earned assets.
In a deeper sense, planning, I have come to realize, involves a lot more than merely creating legal documents. But as difficult as those conversations can be, not only does true estate planning force you to examine your own priorities, it saves your loved ones from having to guess (or, worse, argue about) “what you would have wanted”.