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End of Life Discussions

Have you talked with the person you're providing care for about end-of-life decisions? It's a difficult conversation to initiate but a necessary one. We frequently hear people say they don't want to "be hooked up to machines" or "live in a vegetative state", but what exactly do these statements mean in your situation?  

You don't know what someone means if you don't ask. As caregivers we try to represent and respect the wishes of the people we care for but we can't succeed if we are unaware of their thoughts and feelings about the end of life. The sooner the conversation is initiated the easier it will be to make the right choices when the time comes. It's much easier to talk about dying when one is at home in good health, than it is when one is lying sick in the hospital.  

As a caregiver you'll be called on to make decisions about medical care, living arrangements, finances, even burial. Are you prepared to make these decisions? Do you have the information you need to make decisions? Do you have legal authority to make them? Learn about the issues involved and the options available by calling your local Agency on Aging and requesting Options Counseling.