The Conversation We Continue to Avoid, Part 2

Last week, I featured Part 1 of a blog regarding the all-important end-of-life conversation and advanced directives. This week we finish up that discussion from my colleague, Lynn Lambrecht, with an intimate look at a father-daughter talk on the topic.

Have the heart-to-heart conversation for peace of mind.
Have the heart-to-heart conversation for peace of mind.

Here’s more from Lynn:

Shifting our culture from not talking to talking is quite an undertaking, it appears.

Upon watching a TedXStanford  talk between Tom Brokaw and his daughter, Jennifer (an ER physician), it was sobering to hear the statistics.

“Less than 30% of all Americans have prepared an Advanced Directive,” Jennifer referenced from a study done a few years back:

–50% of terminally ill patients have any kind of Advanced Directive
–Of that 50%, 12% had prepared their Advanced Directives with a physician
–60-75% of physicians who care for terminally ill patients have no idea if patients have an Advanced Directive or know what the contents of one may be

Jennifer asked her dad what his wishes were and probed to understand how he defined “terms” he used.  The link to this TedXStanford talk is here Tom & Jennifer Brokaw.

How do we begin to have heart-to-heart talks with our loved ones about their end of life plans, the legacy they wish to leave, their definitions of “quality of life”?  Have you considered what you want?  Could communication begin with a question, “If you weren’t able to speak for yourself, what is important for me to know that matters to you?”

Jennifer Brokaw reflected that we could begin having these conversations when we come of age, as she survived a near fatal accident in her late 20’s.  Tom Brokaw used a term, “fixed certainty” in the TedXStanford Talk – referencing the end of life.  There are possibilities we may encounter illness or an accident and it is a “fixed certainty” we will experience end of life.  If the unexpected happened in your life, would you be ready?  Would others know what to say on your behalf?

Jennifer Brokaw mentioned that as a physician she observes that families who have Advanced Directives are in much better shape emotionally, financially and otherwise.  From personal experience, knowing the wishes of my loved ones gives me great comfort.  It was a gift beyond anything I could have imagined, knowing specific wishes allowed a clear understanding of how to speak for them.  Consider giving the gift of peace of mind for yourself, your loved ones and your health care providers before you “need” to–it is quite a gift.

Lynn founded The Living Planner to provide resources for people to organize, plan, locate, record and communicate everything influencing their day to day lives to help with life’s transitions.
Contact Lynn online @ The Living Planner

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