Planning for the end of life

can bring families closer and prevent regret

Our free End-of-Life Planning Guide and Plan Template

Caring for a loved one near the end of life isn’t simple  but it’s very rewarding

It can be uncomfortable to think about taking care of a loved one who is nearing the end of life. But helping a family member or friend through their final days is one of the most meaningful things you’ll ever do.

During the emotional stress of managing the end of life, it’s difficult to think clearly and make good decisions. Consider developing an end-of-life plan when it’s easier to make critical decisions — before your loved one has a medical crisis.

Making and sharing an end-of-life plan in advance also helps families avoid conflict during the final days. And when you and your family know what to expect, you can keep your focus on bringing comfort to your loved one. Seeing a loved one peacefully through the end of life brings a great deal of satisfaction and helps ease even profound grief.

Planning for the End of Life

Developing an end-of-life plan takes time and thought. And once people start thinking and talking about this important topic, they may change their wishes based on how their decisions may affect those who will be taking care of them. There’s a lot to consider.

Talking through such a sensitive subject often brings people to share deeply held beliefs, memories, fears, and hopes that bring families closer together. People can end up connecting in new and significant ways, often creating memories that are especially comforting during the grieving process.

Our Free End-of-life Planning Guide and Plan Template

Create an end-of-life plan for the family members or friends you’ll be caring for. Use our free End-of-Life Planning Guide to help you think through your loved one’s wishes about end-of-life care. And use our free end-of-life plan. You can print it and share it with the people who will be affected by it. You can print multiple copies of the blank plan template so that you, other family members, or friends can develop their own plans.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Develop an end-of-life plan
  • Share the end-of-life plan with your family
  • Focus on your loved one’s quality of life
  • Ask the right questions about a hospital stay
  • Begin creating legal documents confirming your loved one’s wishes
  • Help create a legacy project your family will treasure
  • Think through what your loved one wants the final days and moments to look like

One-to-one support from an end-of-life doula

It’s not easy to think through a delicate topic like the end of life and all of the important details involved. Get warm emotional support and practical advice to help you manage end-of-life planning and the many considerations it entails.

Beth Suereth is an INELDA-trained end-of-life doula, an AARP family caregiving consultant, and a Certified Caregiving ConsultantTM, Certified Caregiving FacilitatorTM, and Certified Family Caregiving EducatorTM.

Beth will give you perspectives and strategies for handling your family’s unique needs and circumstances. She can help you learn how to:

  • Start sensitive conversations with family members and friends
  • Create a family emergency plan
  • Manage a loved one’s hospital stay
  • Approach medical/nursing tasks at home after a hospital stay
  • Develop an end-of-life plan
  • Share the end-of-life plan with your family
  • Begin creating legal documents confirming your wishes
  • Create a legacy project your family will treasure

What you will get

The most important thing you’ll get is a new perspective. You’ll learn how to make an end-of-life plan, but you may come to see it as more of a rest-of-life plan. And it could change how you live your life. Using our End-of-Life Planning Guide to help a loved one think through end-of-life wishes may prompt you to examine your own life.

What do you want to see when you’re nearing your final days and take a look back at your life? You may well decide to make significant changes so that view looks different. You may end up creating a new rest-of-life plan for yourself!

Schedule a free 30-minute free consultation to talk to Beth about what you need when it comes to managing the end of life.

Or contact Beth at 201.207.5602 or beth@caregivingpathways.com.

Take the class: When the Care Plan Becomes an End-of-Life Plan

It’s difficult to think clearly during the emotional stress of the end of life. Making an end-of-life plan in advance helps families understand a loved one’s wishes and avoid conflict during the final days. When you and your family know what to expect, you can keep the focus on bringing comfort to your loved one. Preparation will make it easier to handle your feelings, your family members, and the way you care for your loved one physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Hear Beth’s story about her father’s last days and learn about:

  • When and how to ask about geriatric specialists, palliative care, and hospice (the doctor may not mention these)
  • Making the most of the time that’s left to minimize regret in the future
  • Finding out what’s important to your loved one at this stage of life — it may be something you wouldn’t imagine!

Now more than ever before, we need to make a plan

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we’re wise to make a plan before a loved one has a health crisis. We should also make sure our families know about our own wishes for managing a hospital stay, our final days, and our finances.

Having all of your insurance and financial information in one place will help your family manage when you can’t. To keep your loved ones from scrambling to find what they need to manage your health care, day-to-day expenses, life insurance, and more, fill in this free spreadsheet. Add your health insurance information, account numbers, bill payment websites and processes, security questions, and any other information your family will need if you get very sick or die from COVID-19 or any other health crisis. Then tell a trusted family member where to find the document. 

Listen in to a video on CareGiving.com where Beth Suereth talks with Denise Brown about some of the steps Beth has taken to prepare her family in the event of a coronavirus-related emergency.

Having a plan brings peace of mind

During the emotional distress of the end of life, you’ll face making difficult decisions with your loved one or for your loved one. Knowing a loved one’s wishes ahead of time helps you make good decisions that will result in peace of mind for everyone.

The less you need to focus on making decisions, the more you and your family can help your loved one through the final months, weeks, and moments.

We have two options

We really have only two options when it comes to managing a health crisis or the end of life — plan and prepare or react and regret.

Let us help you plan and prepare — and give you and your family peace of mind.

Ask your loved one to create legal instructions for you

Advance directives are legal documents that go into effect when your loved one is unable to make decisions in a medical crisis. Anyone can create these documents, with or without a lawyer. There are two types, and you may combine them in one document:

  • In a living will document, you share your wishes about the types of medical care you do and don’t want. AARP provides helpful details on living wills and a list of advance directives by state.  
  • In a health care proxy document (also known by other names, such as a durable power of attorney document for health care), you name a person who will make medical decisions for you if you can’t speak for yourself. That person is known in different areas by different names, such as a health care proxy, agent, power of attorney (POA), or representative. Your doctor and your agent can use your living will as a guide when making those decisions. 

Visit AARP to find out how to create a health care proxy in your state that says who can make medical decisions if you aren’t able to. Everyone 18 or over in your household should create a health care proxy document in case of a medical emergency.

Mayo Clinic has helpful information about advance directives and three types of orders that doctors write: do not resusitate orders, do not intubate orders, and physician (or provider or medical) orders for life-sutaining treatment (POLST or MOLST). 

Consider other legal documents, too

Before there’s a medical crisis, you may want to ask your loved one to talk to a lawyer about putting other legal documents in place. AARP has helpful information on estate planning, other powers of attorney, and managing digital assets.