• Judy Carole

End of Life Choices

According to The Guardian, ‘research shows that 70% of adults would like to be cared for and die in their own home. But great majority of us still die in hospital; today, two out of 10 are able to fulfil this final wish. http://www.guardian.co.uk/local-government-network/2012/dec/10/good-death-local-government-end-of-life-care

It may still be a lottery postcode as to whether we get the support we need to stay at home at the end of our lives, but we do have some control over the kind of treatment we receive – or to be more precise - choose not to receive. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are against the law, but thanks to the Mental Capacity Act of 2007 we can chose to write a Living Will. A Living Will (also known as an Advance Directive ) allows us to state what treatment we want to refuse even if refusing it will bring about the end of our lives. it is legally binding and providing it is relevant to your circumstances at the time it cannot be overturned. http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/legal-issues/living-wills/ It is important to think in advance about the decisions you would like to make if you do not have the 'capacity' at that time to do so. Would you want  to be kept alive artificially, or have every effort made to resuscitate you? We can make our end of life choices in two different ways: We can either appoint someone to have our Lasting Power of Attorney allowing them to make decisions about our end of life treatment when we are no longer able to. Alternatively as stated above we can write it down, but its no good putting it with your Will which will only be read after you are no longer alive, it must be accessible, so make sure your GP and family have a copy.You may not be able chose where you spend your last days - but at least you may have some control over how.

I think of end of life as having a 'return to sender' ticket that we are all born with and ignore! Instead we might consider approaching it as we would any long journey, by tying up our loose ends, saying goodbye to those we love and making sure that those that still need our love and care will be cared for by others.  

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