What does Dad want? Have you asked? How about Mom? Does anyone know what her wishes are? Has anyone asked her? And is anyone really listening to what they are saying?
Life can turn on a dime. Incapacity happens. Wouldn't it be better to take some time now to get prepared? There is no time like the present to ask questions and get some answers. It’s never too late until it really is too late!
Engaging in conversations about what to do in the event of incapacity or death and formulating a plan ahead of any crisis situation is a winning combination. Talking about the “what if’s” now will help diffuse and negate the possibility of a terrible outcome during a difficult situation.
In case you have been busy enjoying the summer and not taken time to be up with the news, there's a movement afoot. It will change the current absence of meaningful and necessary conversations. End-of-life conversations will soon become an integral part of exchanges between doctors, patients, caregivers and family members when it matters most. Why the changing tide? Medicare will reimburse physicians for their time spent having these important discussions with their patients and family members. One’s end-of-life wishes will soon become an integral part of the conversation when you visit your doctor for an annual check up or if you end up in a hospital in a crisis situation.
There will be no more excuses for ignoring the pleas from patients and families to be “heard” when end-of-life decisions are first and foremost on their minds. We've all heard stories about family conflicts and family tragedies - so isn't it better to have these conversations well in advance of a crisis?
The ending of Bobby Kristina Brown's life exemplifies a worse case scenario - the losing combination of a lack of prior conversations, the lack of any clear planning, the added complications of a blended family, and no person “in charge” of handling the life changing event.
Time is often of the essence. Asking Mom and Dad to communicate their wishes is a priceless gift to you. Telling them your wishes is your gift to them too! Bobby Kristina Brown’s situation reminds us that these kinds of events can and do happen at any age.
Think about it. Talk to your parents, your spouse, your physician, and your adult children and make some of these difficult decisions now. Knowing your loved ones wishes and expressing you own will help alleviate the fear and the chaos of “what to do” when incapacity or death happens.