Chad McDonald via Flickr

Chad McDonald via Flickr

It may sound morbid, and no one really wants to talk about it, but a part of a great life is planning and discussing a good death. This should not be reserved for the elderly years.

No matter what age you are, as an adult, you should discuss this with your loved ones.

Considering end of life when you are well can make the difference between an end fraught with burden and uncertainty for your spouse or other family members or one of peace, acceptance and dignity.

I have seen both types of death- a good death vs a bad death. The ONLY difference between the two was the level of communication.

Forethought and communication means having some control over an event that usually one has very little to no control over.

Considering what you want as you approach the end of life, filling out the forms spelling out your preferences and discussing these preferences with loved ones  is called advanced directives.

This can be done with a simple 1 page form (obtained from many free sources on-line, hospital gift shops, from your doctor) or can be drafted with via paid legal counsel in concert with forming a living will/trust as well.

You can change your mind or update your decisions at any time.

No matter what method you use- one simply has to answer 3 basic questions ( in the imagined end of life scenario)- then any detailed derivative questions stemming from those decisions can be easily decided upon.

Don’t get hung up on the minutiae of medical choices (IVs, tube feeds, etc) and options. Just decide on these for now-

1.  If I can’t speak for myself, who would I want to speak FOR me?

2. If my brain is gone and there is no reasonable hope for recovery, do I want the rest of my body to be maintained on machines?

3. If I still end up on life support with no reasonable hope for recovery, how long do I allow myself to be connected to machines?

Decided? Now go tell that someone special and then sign an advanced directive together.

About the author

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Dr. Carol

Dr. Carol- doctor, wife, mom and maker PB&J!
One of my passions is to help people Embrace change, Try new things and be BOLD for a healthier and balanced life!


  • Until reading your post like many I thought little of making plans should I suddenly depart from this life and yet your blog has made me think again about getting something down in writing. I like the way you have kept it so simple to simply record three important details. Even I could manage that, nicely done and very much appreciated. Thanks Stephen

  • Thank you. I enjoy each and every posting! I actually wrote my will a couple of years ago and update it every year. I have verbally expressed my “dying” wish regarding the above mentioned at different times but now I will specifically add the three advance directives to my living will also. Thanks for this wise nudge.

    • Good call Regina!

      Be sure to have your advance directives posted on your refrigerator door too. Fire fighters and paramedics are trained to look there when they get emergency calls.

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