Families are often hesitant to talk about end of life wishes. Maybe they are uncomfortable bringing it up, maybe they are afraid of the reaction of others, or maybe they think everyone would know what to do so there's no need to discuss it. But if it feels uncomfortable now – when there is no immediate crisis, everyone is well enough to express their wishes, and there is a lot of time to talk – imagine how much more uncomfortable it would be in an emergency, when people are stressed and the one person who knows for certain what they want is unable to communicate their wishes.
That is the situation that Engage With Grace seeks to avoid – having to make end of life decisions for someone when you don't know what their wishes are. With their One Slide project, Engage With Grace just asks you to talk about 5 questions:
- How much intervention do you want in the event of a terminal illness?
- If there were a choice, would you prefer to die at home or in the hospital?
- Could a loved one correctly describe the type of treatment you'd want in the event of a terminal illness?
- Is there someone you've appointed to act on your behalf if you are unable to make medical decisions for you?
- Have you signed a health care proxy?
If you are getting together with family over the holidays, consider bringing the subject up. It can be casually over washing dishes or you can do what I did and give every one a copy of the Five Wishes Living Will in their stockings. However you decide to bring it up, you'll be glad you did.