In my previous blog, I ended with the suggestion that through transparency you and your loved ones will be empowered to share more and to share deeply.
By this I mean that when you realize the value of making something common knowledge or putting it “out there” a deeper level of understanding and a greater dialogue will result, enabling your loved one to express their fears and wishes and for those surrounding that person to understand better what they are hearing. This is the key to knowing that you are honoring their wishes.
Knowing that you honored their wishes makes the decisions you will face easier to bear. And to live with. In speaking about Caregiven I often suggest a benefit of our vision is to help our loved ones make decisions that they can die with.
Those individuals who made estate plans prior to their diagnosis do so by making choices they would be living with, which are most often decided on by taking in the desires and opinions of those around them. It’s not unusual for them to choose to make changes to their estate plans in light of their terminal diagnosis because the situation is real, it’s now and no longer “some-day”.
The Caregiven app prompts you to review and discuss existing estate plans to ensure that all relevant stakeholders know of their existence, have the opportunity to ask questions and to understand that the executor is trying their best to honor the intentions of their loved one.
Encouraging our loved ones to articulate these end-of-life wishes and assuring them that we will do our best to honor them is one of the greatest comforts we can provide during the end-of-life journey. It’s also one of the greatest gifts they can provide to us.
It’s clarity; it’s direction. It enables us to reflect on their wishes rather than make assumptions or worse, make choices based on our needs, not theirs.
So much of end-of-life caregiving is listening to understand what is being communicated sometimes without it being said. It’s also listening without judgment so that your loved one can feel free to share what’s really at the essence of their thoughts, choices, actions, hopes, and fears.
By encouraging such conversations, asking the right questions and putting the wishes of your loved one first, care partners obtain a greater sense of empowerment and control not only during the end-of-life journey but during the grief following their leaving.
To help with these deeper sometimes difficult conversations I encourage you to visit The Conversation Project or Death Over Dinner. Our family found the resources here of great benefit. When launched the Caregiven app builds upon the spirit of these phenomenal organizations and provides users with the tools to not only capture what is said but to share it with the caregiving team to ensure transparency and deeper understanding.