3 Practical Planning Tips for the Terminally Ill

Monday, September 24, 2018
Learning your time is limited reshuffles your priorities, brings new challenges and a wealth of new health concerns. While there are many issues that will arise, here are 3 practical tips to keep you centered and focused during this time.

1.Set your priorities.

You know yourself the most, and you are the best authority on what matters the most in the time that remains. The best thing to know is that deciding your priorities is completely in your control. Educate yourself on your options, discuss the nature and conditions of treatment with your doctor, and then decide where you want to focus.

Do you wish to pursue all the treatment options available for your illness? Would you prefer to focus on creating the best quality time and spend it with friends and family. Somewhere in between? Is there a trip or skill you’ve always wanted to try? Is that possible? Discuss with your loved ones, and then make an informed decision about what you want to do, so you can chart your course. This can help alleviate feelings of helplessness and fear.

2.Process that Paperwork.

Paperwork is probably the last thing you wish to focus on at this time, but it will not only help your loved ones, it will free you to enjoy the time you have. Having a will/trust and updating your insurance paperwork are a priority, and let your family know where they are. You can also create an advance health care directive, which spells out your specific desires about future health care in writing.

An advance health care directive has 2 parts. The first one is a durable power of attorney, where you can name a proxy (someone you trust) to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to do so.
The second part is a living will, where you can spell out the treatments you would like or refuse at the end of your life. In some areas, you can also create a Do Not Resuscitate order. They require the signature of you and your doctor, and dictate that you do not want a full resuscitation effort if that comes. Please speak with your doctor and attorney for more information on these documents.

3.Pre-Plan your Funeral or Memorial Service.

There are a number of different options available to you, and pre-planning your funeral or memorial service ensure that your wishes are carried out and make things much easier on your loved ones.

Some funeral homes have pre-planning services, where their staff can assist you in creating these plans, taking stress off of you and your family. If this task is too difficult to face, you can also speak with your loved ones and let them know.

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