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Have ‘the talk’ with your family

Published 10:33pm Thursday, April 3, 2014

Death and dying may not be pleasant things to talk about, especially not with people who love you and don’t want you to die.

But, like the saying goes, death is one of only two things guaranteed in life. Unlike that other certainty, taxes, there’s no reminder every time you go to the store or, seemingly, every time you open the mailbox.

Therefore, it takes an effort to plan for that particular inevitability, and failure to plan can have devastating consequences for your family.

A number of highly publicized cases in recent months and years have underscored the importance of talking with your next of kin and other family members about your end-of-life wishes. A number of advancements in recent years have improved the technology of keeping people alive artificially, but many people do not want these services, especially if they are brain dead.

While talking with your family about your wishes is important, having legal documents that make your wishes known is even better. People with a health care proxy and living will can spell out who they want making decisions on their behalf when they’re no longer able, as well as what treatment they do or do not want.

While a discussion about end-of-life decisions may be difficult, it is in the best interest of you and your family to have the talk. You could be preventing years of heartache and saving your heirs loads of money.

And, because we never know what life will throw our way, having the talk and making the decisions is important even if you are still somewhat young and in good health.

Lake Prince Woods is having a free talk on health care advance directives at 3 p.m. on April 16, which is National Healthcare Decisions Day. It can help clear up any confusion you have about end-of-life decisions and give you motivation to cover this difficult topic.

For more information on National Healthcare Decisions Day, visit www.nhdd.org. For more information in the Lake Prince Woods event, call 923-5513.

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