Living Wills a Touchy Subject for Baby Boomers

Baby boomers avoid making living wills because they feel too young and healthy.

Who can even think of writing a will between yoga class and triathlon training?

Kathy Brandt says wills and health care proxies are a good idea for everyone whether they are healthy and young or older and not so healthy.

Brandt, a senior vice president at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, said the two documents can spare families a painful fight and ensure that patients receive — or don’t receive — the medical treatment they wish should they end up in a situation where they can’t speak for themselves

Saving loved ones from making the tough decisions as we age could be the kindest gift of all at the end of our lives.

End of Life Planning is Awkward for Professionals

Conversations doctors don’t want to have include the end of options for the terminally ill.

Whether it’s lack of training or cultural resistance to discuss death and dying there are huge gaps in patient care at the end of life.

In this country, we tiptoe around the D-word until so late in the game that even now, when more than 40 percent of Americans die under hospice care, about half do so within two weeks of admission. Even expert hospice teams can’t provide many of the elements of a good death — and they believe there is such a thing — in mere days.

We can blame some of this evasiveness on physicians, trained to save lives. But families bear some responsibility, too; they may not seek or seem to welcome a frank assessment. Either way, while many patients do have breakpoint conversations, ignorance often rules.

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