Most of us have heard or used this phrase at some time in our lives. I love its definition: “a major problem or controversial issue that is obviously present but avoided as a subject for discussion because it is more comfortable to do so.” Now doesn’t that sound like advance care planning? Over 80% of the population knows about advance care planning and that they should complete their advance directive yet, only around 27% of the population has done so.
Are you living with an elephant? Do you want it to go away? You should, and most of us do, but many of us don’t know where to start. When confronted with something large and unmanageable, break it down into smaller bites, and eventually, it will disappear.
The next time family and friends get together, take the initiative to start nibbling away at the elephant. When someone reminisces about the past, shift the discussion to future outcomes. Start by getting people to talk about their personal experiences with death, then move the conversation to What do you think makes a life well-lived? Ask for assistance in preparing your final gift: a thorough End of Life roadmap for your family. If you become incapacitated it frees them from making life and death decisions. This is why today is called a present.
Removing the elephant from the room is a gift to be treasured. Advance directive forms can be found at Aging with Dignity www.agingwithdignity.org and Caring Connections www.caringinfo.org Your physician and state’s website also offer free resources. You’ll discover that by encouraging others to discuss their preferences and talk about what they would include in their own advance directive, your gift will have no boundaries.
Note: Jane’s goal is to see everyone over the age of eighteen (18) complete their Advance Directives. You can learn more about Jane at her website, listed below.
Jane Markley, RN, FACHE, President M Jane Markley Consulting, LLC www.mjmarkley.com Mobile: 703-298-1201