Preparing for End-of-Life

Preparing for the end-of-life is something many people don't want to think about, let alone plan. However, it is imperative that you take time to make plans and arrangements now, while you are able to make sound, thoughtful, decisions about your wishes. This not only ensures your wants are met, but it also helps family members understand what choices you want made now, so difficult decisions aren't made on the fly when emotions are high.
man hugging and kissing wife who is sick

End-of-Life Care Options and Important Decisions


Hospice helps the patient and family with a variety of services, in home or at the facility. It should focus on enhancing the quality of an individual’s remaining life left in the last stages of terminal illness. Hospice can be a blessing to families with aging and ailing loved ones, but people need to carefully research any hospice agency they are considering. Select a hospice agency that will respect patients’ values, honor the weeks or months that remain of the patient’s life, and do not seek to hasten a patient’s death.

nurse caring for elderly woman


Caregivers can be hospice or hospital workers, nursing home staff and medical personnel, or children, grandchildren, or friends and family caring for aging or ailing patients. Caregivers are often responsible for not only administering medicine and care but also giving comfort and encouragement to those facing the end of their life. Caregiver duties can often be physically difficult and emotionally draining. In fact, caregivers often need to be cared for too!

Caregiver in nursing home

Advanced Directives

Advance directives are documents meant to communicate a patient’s health care wishes should a patient be unable to communicate. The most common advanced directive document is a living will. Unfortunately, advanced directives can be misinterpreted by doctors – which could influence subsequent care. To ensure your medical care is conducted according to your wishes, it is better to assign a power of attorney for your health care. For more information, visit the Patients’ Rights Council.

Advance health care directive blank form and blue pen on United States flag

Resource Spotlight

Identifying a caregiver or preparing a plan and place of care when physical ability declines is vital to a safe and secure lifestyle transition. Making these important decisions ahead of physical decline and aging is vital to achieving the most satisfying  plan that you and your family approve of. AFL’s Embrace the Journey educational program offers a wonderful eight-week course focused on aging and dying. All Embrace the Journey participant guides come with one Finishing Life booklet. Finishing Life booklets give individuals a place to print their spiritual and personal wishes.

Where in the USA is Assisted Suicide Legal?

California, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana and the District of Columbia have all legalized assisted suicide. Vermont, Oregon, and Washington have removed state residency requirements, so anyone can now use tele-medicine services to get a lethal prescription to die. A total of 9,854 people have died by assisted suicide in the USA.

Why Do People Choose Assisted Suicide?

A survey in Oregon indicated that pain was not identified as one of the top three reasons individuals chose assisted suicide. The most common reason was loss of autonomy, followed by a decreased ability to participate in enjoyable activities and loss of dignity.