A teen I know of shared that when her Dad died suddenly no one knew how to talk with her about it. Her friends didn’t know what to say. Her story highlights the fact that we really don’t do well at communicating about this phase of the life cycle no matter how old we are. How hurtful that is. This link tells her story – CLICK HERE.

I present forums, talks, and have conversations about End-of-Life to groups and individuals. Without exception these gatherings evolve into meaningful communications and last far longer than people expect. Questions and stories paint pictures of “good deaths” and “bad deaths”. We really can talk about our final chapters when in a comfortable setting, and we ease into the topic. We need to start talking before it’s too late and we’re in an emergency room with decisions to make.

Fifty percent of us will face a time in a medical emergency when we are unable to speak for ourselves. In the last month of life fifty percent of us will go to the Emergency Department, thirty-three percent will be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, and twenty percent will undergo surgery. These statistics speak volumes about where healthcare is heading- on the freeway to the hospital. We have lost control of our healthcare destiny.

If you are unable to communicate because you are on drugs that make you loopy, or you are too sick to talk, someone will have to speak for you. Choose a healthcare agent wisely, and talk about your wishes. We should take the opportunity to talk about life’s end to consider and decide what we would want for ourselves. We need to identify our wishes, and learn those of our loved ones. We can have an impact on our final chapters with advance planning.

Oh, and about money … Medicare only pays for 51% of your medical costs. The cost of a nursing home is only covered by Medicaid, not Medicare, and a rule of thumb is $100,000.00 per year for a nursing home. The single largest cause of bankruptcy is healthcare costs.

There is “Slow Medicine” to consider, and “Allow Natural Death” and Hospice care. These three concepts are important for us to discover and contemplate. They could make all the difference to you and your loved ones.