Create a personal rest-of-life plan
Caring for a loved one near the end of life isn’t simple — but it’s very rewarding
It can be uncomfortable to think about taking care of a loved one who is nearing the end of life. But helping a family member or friend through their final days is one of the most meaningful things you’ll ever do.
During the emotional stress of managing the end of life, it’s difficult to think clearly and make good decisions. Consider developing an end-of-life plan when it’s easier to make critical decisions — before your loved one has a medical crisis.
Making and sharing a personal end-of-life plan in advance also helps families avoid conflict during the final days. And when you and your family know what to expect, you can keep your focus on bringing comfort to your loved one. Seeing a loved one peacefully through the end of life brings a great deal of satisfaction and helps ease even profound grief.
Make a Caregiving Pathways Personal End-of-Life Plan
Developing an end-of-life plan takes time and thought. And once people start thinking and talking about this important topic, they may change their wishes based on how their decisions may affect those who will be taking care of them. There’s a lot to consider.
Talking through such a sensitive subject often brings people to share deeply held beliefs, memories, fears, and hopes that bring families closer together. People can end up connecting in new and significant ways, often creating memories that are especially comforting during the grieving process.
Our free End-of-life Planning Guide and Plan Template
Create an end-of-life plan for the family members or friends you’ll be caring for. Use our free End-of-Life Planning Guide to help you think through your loved one’s wishes about end-of-life care. Then fill in our free end-of-life plan template. Print and share it with the people who will be affected by it. You can print multiple copies of the blank plan template so that you, other family members, or friends can develop their own plans.
You’ll learn how to:
Develop an end-of-life plan — and share it with your family
Focus on your loved one’s quality of life
Ask the right questions about a hospital stay
Begin creating legal documents confirming your loved one’s wishes
Help create a legacy project your family will treasure
Think through what your loved one wants the final days and moments to look like
One-to-one support from an end-of-life doula
It’s not easy to think through a delicate topic like the end of life and all of the important details involved. Get warm emotional support and practical advice to help you manage end-of-life planning and the many considerations involved.
Beth Suereth is an INELDA-trained end-of-life doula, an AARP family caregiving consultant, and a Certified Caregiving Consultant , Certified Caregiving Facilitator , and Certified Family Caregiving Educator .
Beth will give you perspectives and strategies for handling your family’s unique needs and circumstances. She can help you learn how to:
Start sensitive conversations with family members and friends
Create a family emergency plan
Manage a loved one’s hospital stay
Approach medical/nursing tasks at home after a hospital stay
Develop an end-of-life plan
Share the end-of-life plan with your family
Begin creating legal documents confirming your wishes
Create a legacy project your family will treasure
What you'll get
The most important thing you’ll get is a new perspective. You’ll learn how to make an end-of-life plan, but you may come to see it as more of a rest-of-life plan. And it could change how you live your life. Using our End-of-Life Planning Guide to help a loved one think through end-of-life wishes may prompt you to examine your own life.
What do you want to see when you’re nearing your final days and take a look back at your life? You may well decide to make significant changes so that view looks different. You may end up creating a new rest-of-life plan for yourself!
Schedule a free 30-minute free consultation to talk to Beth about what you need when it comes to managing the end of life.
Take the class:
When the Care Plan Becomes an End-of-Life Plan
It’s difficult to think clearly during the emotional stress of the end of life. Making an end-of-life plan in advance helps families understand a loved one’s wishes and avoid conflict during the final days. When you and your family know what to expect, you can keep the focus on bringing comfort to your loved one. Preparation will make it easier to handle your feelings, your family members, and the way you care for your loved one physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Hear Beth’s story about her father’s last days and learn about:
When and how to ask about geriatric specialists, palliative care, and hospice (the doctor may not mention these)
Making the most of the time that’s left to minimize regret in the future
Finding out what’s important to your loved one at this stage of life — it may be something you wouldn’t imagine!
Beth teaches family caregiving classes at The Caregiving Years Training Academy. She is also a Skills Consultant for the academy's Certified Caregiving Consultant Training Program.
Now more than ever, we need to make a plan
With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we’re wise to make a plan before a loved one has a health crisis. We should also make sure our families know about our own wishes for managing a hospital stay, our final days, and our finances.
Listen in to a video on where Beth Suereth talks with Denise Brown of The Caregiving Years Training Academy about steps Beth has taken to prepare her family in the event of a coronavirus-related emergency.
Having all of your insurance and financial information in one place will help your family manage when you can’t. To keep your loved ones from scrambling to find what they need to manage your health care, day-to-day expenses, life insurance, and more, fill in our free spreadsheet template.
Add your health insurance information, account numbers, bill payment websites and processes, security questions, and any other information your family will need if you get very sick or die from COVID-19 or any other health crisis. Then tell a trusted family member where to find the document.
Having a plan brings peace of mind
During the emotional distress of the end of life, you’ll face making difficult decisions with your loved one or for your loved one. Knowing a loved one’s wishes ahead of time helps you make good decisions that will result in peace of mind for everyone.
The less you need to focus on making decisions, the more you and your family can help your loved one through the final months, weeks, and moments.
Two big topics to learn about before you need to make big decisions are palliative care and hospice. AARP has some helpful articles; find out what you need to know about palliative care and hospice.
We have two options
We really have only two options when it comes to managing a health crisis or the end of life — plan and prepare or react and regret.
Let us help you plan and prepare — and give you and your family peace of mind.
Ask your loved one to create legal instructions for you
Advance directives are legal documents that go into effect when your loved one is unable to make decisions in a medical crisis. Anyone can create these documents, with or without a lawyer. There are two types, and you may combine them in one document:
In a living will document, you share your wishes about the types of medical care you do and don’t want. AARP provides helpful details on living wills and a list of advance directives by state.
In a health care proxy document (also known by other names, such as a durable power of attorney document for health care), you name a person who will make medical decisions for you if you can’t speak for yourself. That person is known in different areas by different names, such as a health care proxy, agent, power of attorney (POA), or representative. Your doctor and your agent can use your living will as a guide when making those decisions.
Visit AARP to find out how to create a health care proxy in your state that says who can make medical decisions if you aren’t able to. Everyone 18 or over in your household should create a health care proxy document in case of a medical emergency.
Mayo Clinic has helpful information about advance directives and three types of orders that doctors write: do-not-resuscitate orders, do-not-intubate orders, and physician (or provider or medical) orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST or MOLST).
Create other legal documents, too
Before there’s a medical crisis, you may want to ask your loved one to talk to a lawyer about putting other legal documents in place. AARP has helpful information on estate planning and other powers of attorney.
Your loved one may want to ask a financial advisor, attorney, or others in similar roles about giving them each a diminishing capacity letter. If they notice that your loved one is diminishing in a way that concerns them, the letter gives the advisors permission to contact a person of your loved one's choosing to discuss the situation.
Handling digital assets
Your family member probably has social media accounts. You may want to review them together and talk about managing digital assets. Some sites enable the account holder to designate a person to act on the account holder's behalf in an emergency.
Your family may want to establish a policy on posting updates during and immediately after a health crisis so close family members can be notified privately before anyone posts information online.
A conversation with
estate and tax planning expert Martin Shenkman