It’s not easy to talk death with loved ones, but the time to have the conversation is now.
Laura Alexoff’s father had an aging body, but his mind was still sharp.
“For about the last 10 years of his life, he would often bring up his wishes regarding the end of his life,” said Alexoff, a registered nurse and advance care planning liaison for HOC Navigators. “He knew what he wanted and he would say it. He’d say, ‘When my time comes, let me go! None of that baloney!’ and ‘When I die, just put me in a pine box!’ If we insisted on an obituary, he wanted it only to read ‘Dick died.’”
As a hospice professional, Alexoff understood the importance of honoring end-of-life wishes. She also knew the importance of documenting those wishes while her father could still express what he wanted — and that’s just what she did. She packed up her forms and headed to her parents’ home in northeast Ohio to start the conversation with them on health care decision-making.
Not everyone is as vocal as Alexoff’s father about what they want in their last months, weeks and days. But everyone will face the end of life and all the tough decisions that go along with it.
To put it bluntly, what if you were unexpectedly admitted to the hospital with severe COVID-19 symptoms or another life-threatening illness, or you were in a serious accident, and unable to make health care decisions for yourself? Would your loved ones know what you want, or would they have to guess? Afterward, would they wonder if they had made the right decision?
National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16. It’s a national initiative to inspire, educate and empower the public and health care providers to discuss these matters well in advance of when you might need them. It’s a good day to start thinking — and talking — about how you want to live your final days, regardless of your age and health status.
To see the five questions we should ask ourselves and each other about how we want to spend the end of our lives, please visit the rest of the article at: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sponsor-story/hospice-cincinnati/2021/04/15/5-questions-everyone-should-answer-how-they-want-live-and-die/7191210002/