End of Life Planning

End-of-life issues are deeply difficult to discuss and can trigger great sadness and anger among one's family and friends. While the majority of Americans do not make end-of-life plans, an estimated 18 percent do preplan and prepare advance directives. There is widespread support for conducting advance planning. AARP, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Open Society Institute's Project Death in America, Area Agencies on Aging, hospitals, and many others are all promoting end-of-life planning as part of their activities. 

While a senior is creating these documents, mediation can help to reconcile all parties to the decisions being made. The inclusion of such a discussion in this planning process can assist in alleviating the pain and trauma that can arise later on. 

More importantly, discussing these issues with family and friends will insure that your wishes are carried out when you may not have a voice to speak. 

End of life planning involves:

  • Advance directives (written documents that spell out a seniors health care desires - which avoids having the burden of deciding issues around ventilation, life support etc falling to the children or family member.)

  • Living wills (which include palliative care and do not resuscitate orders)

  • Funeral planning 

  • These documents can give seniors autonomy and independence in deciding their own fates. While they are legal documents, they are also acts of trust and a form of communication that improves decision making.

  • Mediation allows families to function at their best. 

David River