Here’s how to plan a peaceful death

Here’s how to plan a peaceful death

It’s obvious – death cannot be avoided. We have all experienced the loss of a loved one either expectedly or suddenly. Neither way is easy. From her own experience watching her mother pass away, one author advises taking action in advance of your death can lead to a peaceful passing.

“If we choose to pretend that we are not going to die, then one day, we could have a serious accident or get very sick and be shocked, irritated and angry about what happens to us,” says Hattie Bryant in her book I’ll Have it my Way, Bryant’s 25-year quest to discover how to ensure our wishes are known by our loved ones and fulfilled with love and understanding.

Bryant’s four steps to a peaceful death are as follows:

  1. Acknowledge the inevitability of death
  2. Understand the limits of medicine
  3. Educate yourself about your health care choices
  4. Communicate your wishes and choose a proxy

The sooner we come to terms with the fact that we all die, the easier it is to seek answers, choose how we can control our passing and share our wishes with those closest to us, according to Bryant.

The miracle of modern medicine has added years to the lifespan of today’s population, perhaps delaying one’s attention to “how” they die. Becoming educated on end-of-life options does not have to wait until one is facing death. In fact, making these decisions sooner gives one more time to research, share and embrace our choices.

“These discussions are difficult when patients and families are vulnerable,” said Dr. Apurva Desai, a medical oncologist on staff at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill.

“I encourage my patients to chart their own course and make their decisions known to family members, especially if loved ones are asked to be part of the end-of-life process.”

In addition, Dr. Desai recommends completing an Advance Directive for healthcare, which documents your wishes. AARP offers free Advance Directive forms for each state in the U.S.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.