Category Archives: End of Life Planning

Do You Need To Update Your Living Will?

view from Chocorua

A living will, also called an advance health care directive, is a place to lay out your wishes for medical care and treatment at the end of your life. The hope is that your appointed agents will make sure these wishes are carried out. You can specify things such as whether or not you want a feeding tube or artificial respiration, any religious beliefs about medical care you might have, and even how you want to be treated towards the end of your life.

I review mine every so often to make sure it still reflects my wishes. One of my wishes is that if I am dying, I do not want to be in a hospital. I want to be brought outside. According to this article, a man in Washington state had the same wish. He had been a forest ranger and according to the article, he “hadn’t been outside in years because it was too difficult to transport him, according to Evergreen Hospice Volunteers.”  Fire fighters helped him outside this time, and wheeled him up and down the paths he loved.

It is lovely that he was able to finally go outside, and sad that he’d been confined inside for years simply because it was difficult to transport him.  I may need to update my living will to specify that I would rather be put at risk while being transported outside than to be kept inside.

(The picture above is one I took this past weekend, from the summit of Mt. Chocorua in New Hampshire. I think asking my health care agents to haul me all the way there would be going a little too far, but maybe they can fling some of my ashes of the rocks after I am gone.)

“Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”

My favorite New Yorker cartoonist wrote/drew a memoir of caring her for aging parents called “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” It outlines their decline as their minds and bodies start to go. She talks about how no one wanted to talk about “the future” but still they had to keep walking towards itContinue Reading

When Should I Write My Will? A Lesson from House, M.D.

I was watching a rerun of House, MD last night. One of the main character doctors became severely ill over the span of a couple of days. Finally, in severe pain, he was going to be put into a medically induced coma with the chance he might not survive. At this point he feebly tellsContinue Reading

Will Your Family Honor Your Health Care Wishes?

When I work with my clients to help prepare their plans for what will happen to their things after they pass away, I also talk to them about making sure that we put a plan in place for what will happen to them while they are alive but incapacitated and need someone to communicate withContinue Reading

Hospice Home Opening in Hingham

The old Quaker Friends Home on Turkey Hill in Hingham is being reopened as a hospice facility this fall by Norwell VNA & Hospice. The Hospice Residence at Turkey Hill will have 12 beds in private rooms. According to the website: The focus of care is on providing physical, emotional, social and spiritual support forContinue Reading

The Importance of End of Life Planning

I thought about titling this post “We Are All Going To Die”… We can’t change whether or not we are going to die. We all are. Putting off talking about it or planning for it won’t make it not happen, but it could make it more confusing and painful for your loved ones. Seth GodinContinue Reading

Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) v. Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)

Massachusetts has a few forms that people need to be aware of that affect their health care and the treatment that they want. When to use the forms can be confusing.  Below is a summary of each one and when you would want to consider filling it out. A health care proxy is a formContinue Reading

Leaving A Memo or Letter With Your Will

Your Will is the place where you distribute certain types of property after your death. Anything that has a joint owner (like a house or a bank account) or a named beneficiary (like a retirement plan or insurance policy) will pass to the joint owner or beneficiary upon your death. Your other property is distributedContinue Reading

End of Life Conversations Will Result In Your Death – 100% of the Time

Everyone is going to die. All of us. Some will die when we are young, some when we are old. Some will die a quick death, and others will linger while those around us try to figure out what to do. (I know, I don’t like it either.) So, when the discussions about the MedicareContinue Reading

Helping Your Health Care Proxy

April is Health Care Decisions month, the month when you are supposed to sign health care proxies and talk to your family about your “end of life wishes.” I know many people will sign health care proxies, but I wonder how many will take that next step to communicate their wishes to their families, orContinue Reading