There are many reasons why people decide to think about their end of life plan in advance. For instance, maybe you’re a senior and you feel like it’s time to put your affairs in order. Or perhaps you are younger but you simply want to be prepared for any situation that might occur. There’s also the case in which you have been diagnosed with a condition and you are not sure how it’s going to advance. Regardless of the reason why you want go through your end of life planning, there are certain things that you should insist upon.

End of Life Planning Checklist

Make a Will

One of the biggest concerns people have is making a will. This ensures that they will provide for the people they leave behind. Drafting a will as soon as possible is a good idea for many reasons. The first reason would be that you might end up in a situation where you are not able to state your wishes. In this case, you wouldn’t be the person deciding where your savings will go.

However, a will doesn’t only serve as a document that takes care of your finances. In your will, you can (and should) also mention what kind of care you expect after you’re no longer able to take care of yourself. This can include treatment options, specific people that you want next to you, and what you want your loved ones to do in case you are in the final stages of an illness or unconscious. Usually, for their end of life planning, people prefer to talk to a health care provider. Together, they can explore different kinds of scenarios and the appropriate response to each of them.

close up of a will with a pen on top of it

Choose a Health Care Proxy

The next step on your end of life planning checklist should be to select a health care proxy. A health care proxy is that person who has the ability to make decisions for you in case you are not able to make your own anymore. Thus, a health care proxy should be a person you really trust.

As much as you want to cover every single situation in your will, it might happen that something unexpected occurs. Consequently, the health care proxy can only make decisions when they are related to situations not already covered by the will. It would also be useful to name some alternate health care proxies. They can step in if the initial person is not available at that time.

DNR and POLST Orders

A DNR order stands for “do not resuscitate”. It’s a form that you can sign to let people know that you don’t want health care providers to put you on life-support or perform CPR in case you stop breathing or your heart stops beating. The moment you sign a DNR order, this will permanently be attached to your medical file. However, the choice of signing one or not is completely up to you. You could ask for the advice of your health care provider who can help you figure out if this is the right option for you or not.

A POLST order stands for “physician orders for life-sustaining treatment”. This is quite similar to a DNR order, in that it is designed for people who suffer from advanced illnesses. By filling out this form, you will let your health care provider know what kind of end of life care you want. You should sign the form only after having discussed all treatment options with a specialist. However, once you sign it, you don’t have to worry that people won’t respect your wishes in case of an emergency.

Home vs Aged Care Homes

Another decision that you will have to make when it comes to end of life planning is whether you want to spend your last moments at home or in an aged care home. A lot of people prefer to stay at home. Especially since nowadays they can hire caregivers who can take care of them day in and day out. Staying at home might indeed be more comfortable. You can also bring hospital equipment to your home, if you need it.

caregiver helping a senior

If you choose to move into an aged care home (or a nursing home), you should know that the personnel’s main goal is to make everything as comfortable as possible for the ill person. Of course, you will have to pay a fee (which sometimes can be quite steep). However, you will receive plenty of moral support from the people there. Another benefit of choosing an aged care home is that you can also interact with other people there. At home, you would mostly have your personal caregiver to talk to.

Plan a Memorial Service

When it comes to planning a memorial service for yourself, people tend to split into two categories. Some people find it gruesome. Other people think it is practical and want to do it while they have the chance. However you want to look at it, planning your memorial service will make it easier for your loved ones to simply focus on being there for you in your last moments instead of taking care of other issues.

Another advantage of doing this is that you can plan it and personalize it according to your wishes. For instance, you can decide who is going to attend the memorial service. You also have control over what is going to be read or what songs are going to be sung. If you feel like these details are important to you, then you should consider including a plan for a memorial service in your end of life planning checklist.

Summing Everything Up

We hope you found this end of life planning guide useful, and that it has helped you make some decisions regarding the final moments of your life. In case you feel the need to, you should also know that there are special counselors who can provide emotional support for both you and your loved ones. They are professionals who can help you cope with the emotions you’re going to experience at the end of your life. Consequently, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact one.

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