Submitted by Maureen Richichi
In between doing activities to fill our days of isolation– jigsaw puzzles, games of Scrabble, reading, favorite TV shows/movies, neighborhood walks, talking with friends and family — my husband and I did something we’ve been putting off for a long time.
We sat together and talked about our concerns and wishes for end-of-life; specifically, we started preparing our individual advanced directives for health care and other end of life decisions.
The Covid-19 pandemic is certainly highlighting for me the reality of my vulnerabilities and mortality in ways I was able to dismiss or ignore previously. This is not easy…in fact, it is darn hard and terrifying at times. But I have found that possessing good information, getting in touch with what I value most, and concretely talking about my wishes with my loved ones has given me a semblance of control in this unpredictable and scary time.
Americans typically shy away from talking about death. Yet, now, in the face of Covid-19, we seem to be surrounded by death’s reality. Friends and acquaintances mention how creative and persistent they have become in communicating and staying in touch with family and loved ones.
Perhaps this might just be a very valuable time to at least begin or even complete family conversations we’ve avoided about our wishes for end-of-life care.
Let’s focus on controlling what we can control during the coronavirus outbreak followed by a list of resources helpful for advanced directive planning and end-of-life care.
The Conversation Project®, a public engagement initiative with a goal to have every person’s wishes for end-of-life care expressed and respected, has joined with Ariadne Labs: A Joint Center for Health Systems Innovation to create this new tool to help people take some action and be prepared.
We can’t control how this pandemic plays out. But we can control who speaks for us if we’re unable to speak for ourselves, and we can take the time to make sure they know what matters most to us.
National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) on April 16, 2020
Each year a day in April has been designated as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). This year it occurs on April 16; its purpose is to demystify healthcare decision-making and make the issue of advance care planning accessible and inescapable.
Massachusetts Law About Health Care Proxies and Living Wills
The Conversation Project
Honoring Choices Massachusetts