How To Prepare For A Good End Of Life

  1. What is a good end of life?
  2. Is there a way to die well?
  3. How do we increase our chances of dying well?

Judy MacDonald Johnston addresses these three weighty questions in a 2013 TED talk. She acknowledges questions like these trigger fear and denial; however, without an end-of-life plan, we are at the mercy of others who may not know what is in our best interest.

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Prepare For A Good End Of Life. By Judy MacDonald Johnston

A 5-Step Plan For A Good End-of-life

Drawing on her own experience as an end-of-life advocate for Jim and Shirley Modini, Johnston outlines a comprehensive 5-step plan to ensure we have a positive experience in our last days, months, or years. She notes that the last days of our lives should be about quiet reassurance that everything will be handled according to our wishes.

1. Make a Plan

Even though most people want to die at home, 80% of Americans will die in a hospital or nursing home. Having a wish will not get you the outcome you desire. Instead, think about the following: Where do you want to be when you are no longer independent? Do you want medical intervention and, if so, to what extent? Who is going to make sure your plan is followed?

2. Find advocates

Choosing more than one advocate increases the likelihood that your plan will be carried out. Consider people who are not close relatives. Advocates should be able to work under pressure and have the time and ability to adapt to quickly changing circumstances.

3. Get Papers Ready

Towards the end, you may be headed for the emergency room. Johnston recommends placing a summary of your medical history, current medications, and physician information in a brightly colored envelope along with copies of insurance cards, a power of attorney and do not resuscitate order. Make sure to keep extra sets of these documents. She suggests that advocates keep one set in the car and another set taped to the refrigerator. This will streamline the emergency room admission process.

4. Choose Caregivers Wisely

Make sure you choose caregivers who mesh with your personality and can accommodate your financial situation. Figure out if an elder care community or remaining at home is the right choice for you.

Johnston emphatically states, “Do not settle.”

5. Discuss Last Words

It’s difficult to let go of life, when you’re worried. It’s important that those surrounding you at the end reassure you that all is well. Think about what you want to hear at the very end and whom you’d like to hear it from.

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Provide You And Your Family Peace Of Mind

Because of proper planning and advocacy, Johnston believes Jim and Shirley Modini suffered less at the end and enjoyed life more because they had peace of mind. Johnston asserts that, like the Modinis, we will have a better chance of maintaining a quality of life with a little forethought and planning.

Watch The Full Ted Talk


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