Living Wills and Other Advance Directives

One of our dear cats is very sick. This prompted a family discussion about how much care to provide him, and led to a talk about our own wishes should we become ill.
I recently read a post on WiseHands, a massage therapy and hospice blog, about how working with people who are dying can change the way we feel about death. Part of my job as a nursing home psychologist is to help people prepare for death, and it took time for me to grow comfortable with this. I find my patients usually welcome the opportunity to discuss treatment decisions and dying, but sometimes it takes several attempts before they are fully ready to talk about it. I imagine it would be the same for family members trying to have similar conversations.
The CBS News article, Some Nursing Home Elderly Get Futile Care, emphasizes the importance of having end-of-life discussions. For those interested in preparing living wills and advance directives, the Mayo Clinic has an informative website to get you started.

4 thoughts on “Living Wills and Other Advance Directives”

  1. Doctor El,
    I would just like to emphasize the importance of living wills and advanced directives for everyone, not just the elderly.

    Sorry to hear about your kitty.

  2. Sue, you're right, it's important for everyone to have their advance directives in place, because you never know what life has in store, and thank you for your sympathy about my cat.

  3. Dr. E,

    You entry remined me of the concept of "pet trusts" that an attorney introduced me to several years ago. At first, I thought this was a bit odd, but five minutes into our conversation I realized how important this is.

    Most of us dont think about what will happen to our beloved pets if we outlive them. Many animals are placed in "limbo" after their partner passes away. This is especially important if you are single or an elder.

    Sorry to hear about your kittens health.

  4. Steve,

    That's a really good point about taking care of your animals if something happens to you. Residents often talk with me about missing their pets, and I know they get a lot of comfort when the pets have gone to good homes. Preparing in advance would make this a lot easier.

    Dr. El


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