There may come a point in our lives that we may become more interested in thinking ahead and learning about end of life issues and choices. This could be because of illness of ourselves or those we love. When there is no cure for our illness, palliative and end-of-life care will help make the end of life as comfortable as possible.
When we encourage you to Think Ahead we are really encouraging you to make an Advance Care Plan. This refers to a process of discussion and reflection about goals, values, and preferences for your future and plan for a time when you may no longer be able to speak for yourself because of loss of capacity through illness or accident.
The overall goal is that should the time come that we need additional care, we have already thought and recorded what is important to us. For many of us, this process may include choosing and discussing our thoughts with someone we trust and asking them to act on our behalf if we can no longer make our own decisions because of illness or accident. The best way to start the process of Advance Care Planning is by talking with those who are important to you. You might face some resistance as it’s not a conversation we are used to having. Try not to be disheartened if you meet resistance, remember you can try again another time.
You might find it useful to:
- Tell people you are getting your house in order now when you are well. Talking it through now means everyone important to you is aware of your priorities and decisions.
- Remind them it’s important that you have a say in your preferences.
- Take it one day at a time, tackling our feelings about end of life can overwhelm us, but if we do, we elevate ourselves to a position where we keep control over future events in our own lives.
When we think ahead, we should try to think about and share our personal values, life goals, and preferences for our future. We can divide these into three main sections: legal decisions, personal decisions, and healthcare decisions.
Visit the Legal Decisions page
Visit the Personal Decisions page
Visit the Healthcare Decisions page