Knowing a Loved One's Wishes

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When a loved one is facing mortality and the issues it presents, consider the following.  Are the loved one’s wishes known to friends and family?  Are you faced making decisions for an elderly relative or friend realizing you didn’t know the wishes of the friend or relative?  Thanks to Consumer Reports for thinking about it.  Here are some considerations.

  • Documents.  Know where the important documents are located.  These include the will, birth certificate, marriage and divorce certificates.  Don’t forget Social Security information, any life insurance policies, and financial documents.  If the loved one was a vet, do not forget the DD214 that provides proof he or she did indeed serve in the US Armed Forces.  Lastly, where are the keys to a safety deposit box or home safe?
  • Funeral.  Ask the loved one about their funeral.  Have they already made arrangements?  If not what do they want.  How about organ donation?  Burial or cremation?
  • Advance directive.  Complete an advance directive that includes a living will that specifies both wanted and unwanted procedures.  Also appoint a health-care proxy to make the medical decisions if the loved one is incapacitated.
  • Do-not-resuscitate order.  Draw-up a DNR for the loved one.  The DNR informs healthcare-professionals whether or not CPR is to be performed when the heart or breathing stops.  Consider the fact that restarting may not result in a meaningful life.
  • Document copies.  Insure the loved one gives copies of the documents to their doctor and several family members or friends.  If the loved one is admitted to a hospital, make sure the documents are turned over to the hospital.

Don’t second guess the wishes.  Take the time and discuss the wishes with the loved one beforehand.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Consider these issues for yourself.  Take the time to perform the steps listed above for yourself so your wishes are carried-out for you when the time comes.  Don’t burden friends and family trying to guess what you want.

rChance hopes this helps you when facing with these difficult issues.  Again, please refer to the October 2012 issue of Consumer Reports to fill in the specifics. 

Remember, It’s rChance to Live and Thrive, Every Day and in Every Way

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