It may sound morbid, but you’re never too young to start thinking about the end of your life. And now, while you’re clear-headed, is the best time. You have a number of things to consider and decisions to make, so approaching them with a clear perspective is essential to ensure the end of your life is carried out the way you want.
The end of your life is accompanied by some big questions. What kind of treatment do you want if you’re in an accident or if you become terminally ill? How should doctors care for you if you are unable to communicate? Do you have someone you entrust to make decisions on your behalf, or do you want to leave instructions? Have you devised a will? All of these questions need to be addressed. Doing so will not only ensure the end of your life plays out like you want, but that the people you’ve left behind will have a clear vision of how to proceed.
Each of these decisions should be your own. Once you have made them and put them in writing, begin talking to family members. The problem with seeking advice from family regarding these issues is that they will rarely act with your best interests. For example, it’s unlikely your husband, wife or daughter will approve of your decision to not be resuscitated if your heart stops.
The decisions will be made and then provided to your doctor or power of attorney. These essentially become your spokespeople if you become too ill or injured to communicate. They execute your wishes and execute what is outlined in your “living will.” Your living will includes what lengths you will go to stay alive. For example, you may elect to not undergo certain procedures to maintain your life. I already mentioned resuscitation if your heart stops, but you’ll also have to decide how you feel about things like life support, dialysis, and breathing assistance.
You can also outline how your remains are disposed of, outlining if you’d like to donate your organs to science, be buried, or cremated.
These are heavy, depressing issues to think and talk about, but they are essential. Everybody dies sooner or later and making sure your last wishes are carried out as you intend can save plenty of stress and confusion for your loved ones.