Dignity is vital to self worth throughout our lifetime; in the later stages of life, preserving a sense of respect and honoring the individual is especially important. Rarely will anyone argue this point. However, unless careful planning and clear communication is established early on, issues with regard to health, living situation and end of life decisions can often result in family arguments — that could have been avoided.
It is crucial that we take the time to think about what is truly important to us concerning our health, where we want to live and how we want to die — some simple, straight-forward tips:
- Family: it’s our greatest asset but their love for us can be the biggest roadblock when it comes to discussing our wishes with them. When facing chronic illness or cancer, it is important that your family thoroughly understand your illness and how it is affecting your well-being. Always allow your family to express their fears, but be firm with your decisions and take the time to explain your decisions and why they’re important to you.
- Advance Directive: having it is strongly recommended and should be discussed with your doctor. The Advance Directive is a simple form that must be signed by you and your physician. Once established, it provides clear instruction for your doctor should you be unable to speak for yourself during a health crisis. It also removes the pressure for your family on making critical decisions.
So remember, don’t worry about the things you cannot change, make changes that are needed, then live life to its fullest!