Plan To Die


Most of us expect to die, just not in our lifetimes. We naively assume the Grim Reaper won’t come till we’ve ready, but as writer Mona Simpson notes, “We all—in the end—die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories.”

Planning our death can: prevent misunderstandings, preclude guilt, mitigate grief, save money, improve our quality of life at the end and help our loved ones better handle our passing.

Based on her experience with the dying, Judy MacDonald Johnston says,

It starts with a plan. Most people say, “I’d like to die at home.” Eighty percent of Americans die in a hospital or a nursing home. Saying we’d like to die at home is not a plan. A lot of people say, “If I get like that, just shoot me.” This is not a plan either; this is illegal.

A plan involves answering straightforward questions about the end you want. Where do you want to be when you’re no longer independent? What do you want in terms of medical intervention? And who’s going to make sure your plan is followed?

On her website, Good End Of Life, Judy offers helpful worksheets on how to:

  • Make A Plan
  • Recruit Advocates
  • Be Hospital Ready
  • Choose A Place And Caregivers
  • Discuss Last Words

Woody Allen says he isn’t afraid of dying; he just doesn’t want to be there when it happens. Unfortunately, we will be, so we might as well plan ahead.

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