The topic of what happens when we encounter final illnesses and death is often swept under the rug. Conversations about end-of-life decisions are not fun. However, putting plans in place ahead of time ensures easier moments when the time comes to deal with a family crisis.
There is no enjoyment in meeting doctors and coping with complex medical issues you have never encountered before. Questions such as – do you want everything possible done to keep you alive? Do want nothing done? If you must go on life support, is that OK with you? Who is responsible for making decisions on your behalf if you become?
Should you become incapacitated and doctors turn to your family for answers, it is a good idea to have your wishes spelled out somewhere. Arguments and discord can arise quickly without guidance. So, prevent that from ever happening by having a set of instructions that leave no room for doubt or disagreement about what matters to you.
Make a plan for end of life
A good place to start is to prepare an advance care plan, to help you, the important people in your life, and your healthcare team plan for your end-of-life care.
It helps you understand what the future might hold, and to say what health care you would or would not want. This makes it much easier for everyone to know what you want - especially if you can no longer speak for yourself.
There's helpful, easy-to-understand information on advance care planning on the NZ Health Quality and Safety website.
Enduring Power of Attorney
One of the things that everyone should have in place is an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). This is a legal document that can protect you and what is precious to you. There are two types, covering property, and personal care and welfare. More information can be found on MSD's Superseniors site.