“I don’t want to talk about it.” “Not today.” Having a conversation about dying is not easy. Inevitably accompanied by complex emotions, discussions are easily avoided, postponed, set aside, sometimes until the opportunity has passed forever.
Yet, ultimately it is an extremely important gift you can give your family. And for you personally, the best way to reach a peaceful death is to plan ahead. Open a dialogue with your family about your wishes, and with your doctor. Studies show that over half of all Americans do not have wills. According to AARP, 78 percent of millennials (ages 18-36) and 64 percent of Generation Xers (ages 37-52) do not have a will. It is important for younger people to have wills, especially if they have children, to ensure that they’ll be cared for by the people the parents want as guardians in the event of their death. Two out of three have not completed (and shared) an advance directive, a document that will increase the likelihood that you will get the treatment you want.
The Kent County Commission on Aging and Mid-Shore Pro Bono are offering a free workshop on preparing for end-of-life on Wednesday, May 18 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., at the Amy Lynn Ferris Adult Activity Center, 200 Schauber Road in Chestertown. Tim Abeska, Mid-Shore Pro Bono Volunteer Attorney, will cover topics such as wills, personal financial powers of attorney, health care advance directives, and Maryland medical orders for life-sustaining treatment.
Who will speak for you if you can’t? What are your goals at the end of life? What kind of funeral do you want, and how will it be paid for?
“You may not control life’s circumstances but getting to be the author of your life means getting control of what you do with them,” says Atul Gawande, physician and best-selling author of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.
Refreshments will be served. The Amy Lynn Ferris Center is located just off Morgnec Road past Peak Health Care. For information, call 410-778-2564.