You might be wondering why you need to create end-of-life plans. I mean, if it happens suddenly, it’s not like you can hit reset and get a do-over, right? And if you die of old age, well, doctors and lawyers, funeral homes and families, they’ve all seen this dog and pony show before.

So, what does creating end-of-life plans get the person who dies?

Here are some really compelling reasons for creating end-of-life plans!

It’s end of life, not death

Creating end-of-life plans isn’t only about your death. It is about the time prior to death when you are approaching the end-of-life. For most of us, death doesn’t turn up one day with your number. It happens progressively over time due to age, illness, disease or disability.

A life-limiting or life ending diagnosis can happen for a variety of different reasons. With it, you can experience:

  • Losing the ability to communicate your choices
  • The need to make decisions that you’ve never made before such as whether you’d refuse dialysis if chemotherapy damaged your kidneys
  • An increased dependence on carers and family for your health and wellbeing
  • Stress and mental health impacts
  • An increased mental load from making complex medical decisions
  • The need for loved ones to step in and make decisions for you

Creating end-of-life plans helps you and the people caring for you make complex medical and legal decisions while also remembering who you are as they make them. By creating end-of-life plans, you are helping the people closest to you make decisions. All while receiving the care you want and preserving your dignity.

Less unnecessary or unwanted treatment

One of the hardest things any family can navigate is when they have to make medical decisions for you without the appropriate documentations. Our values influence what we will and won’t accept when we need medical treatment.

What treatment we will accept or decline is influenced by:

  • Your individual tolerance for pain and discomfort
  • How much comfortable you are with people helping you with feeding, toileting and bathing
  • Where quality of life and the quantity of life intersect
  • Spiritual and religious beliefs
  • Ethics and morals
  • What we value in life generally

When we talk about what treatments we will and won’t accept, there is more to consider than whether we would opt for a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR). And these considerations are deeply personal.

Always make sure you have an advance care plan and an advance care directive. That way, you can reduce the chance of additional pain via invasive treatments or treatments that prolong your life and/or suffering beyond your personal limits.

The chance to die at home

With the amount of Baby Boomers there are in Australia, it will be physically impossible for everyone to die in a hospital or care environment.

This lack of availability is also prompting many to consider if that is how they’d like to die anyway. Would you prefer to die at home, surrounded by snoozing pets, listening to your favourite music, with everyone you care about?

Dying at home can give you greater control when it comes to bringing everyone together and experiencing a death that is full of loved ones and the things you love.

By creating end-of-life plans, you are planning to:

  • Opting to die at home on your own terms
  • Providing end-of-life plans that help your loved ones make that happen
  • Creating an appropriate record of your choices that helps medically and legally to give you what you want

All while providing a practical outline to help you stay out of care facilities for longer.

A decent contingency plan

Death is like anything else in life. The more you research and plan, the better you get at it. By creating end-of-life plans, you’re giving yourself access to contingency plans if your first choice isn’t available.

Take for example dying at home. You won’t be able to die at home. But you might be able to stay home for longer with the help of your community.

Planning out your approach to end-of-life means that other people understand your choices and values on an intimate level.

A funeral that reflects you

If you’ve ever been to a friend’s funeral that didn’t look or sound like them, it can be someone in the family or at the funeral parlour had a little too much input.

We’ve lost the art of celebrating death in some ways because we’ve decided funerals need to resemble a funeral.

But there are so many ways you can put your stamp on a funeral.

You don’t have to have someone from the funeral company running the show. The music, cars, coffin – it’s all up to you. Choosing to share what you’d like to have happen, wear, what music to play, heck even whether the wake should be sombre or a celebration – they all important decisions.

And there are many ways to save money, personalise and customise your funeral that the larger companies may not discuss with you.

Avoid guilt or grief deciding you need a golden casket because the salesperson says it means love. Don’t allow Great Aunt Judy to put her religious stamp on your farewell.

By creating end-of-life plans, you can help direct the show long after you’re gone.

Less stress on your family

Dying is full of decisions and paperwork that the people we love rarely want to deal with. The more you do towards outlining your end-of-life care plans with advance care directives, writing a will, planning your estate, planning your funeral and sorting out what happens with your organs, body and digital footprint, the better off your loved ones will be.

Don’t leave the people you love most in this world with a lot of homework, heartache and really stressful decisions.

A cheaper death

It might seem a little strange to talk about your death in terms of price, but here it is. Dying is an incredibly profitable industry. And if you haven’t outlined your treatment plans, have your will and estate in order, or provided an idea about what sort of funeral you’d like, things can get very expensive very quickly.

Stress often leads our loved ones to continue treatment that is painful, costly and invasive as they do not wish to let you go. It can also encourage them to over-spend on funerals and other items you would not have cared for as they don’t understand what you wanted but wish to honour you all the same.

Arguments over your estate, house and more can also become expensive legal exercises. Ones that can leave families broken if left unchecked.

If you are the sort of person who cared about what your money was spent on in life, you need end-of-life planning to ensure it happens with your care and after you die. And if you want to leave your loved ones with as much financial support as possible, don’t let medical bills, funeral expenses or legal fees take away the lion-share of funds you would like to leave.

A Great Last Impression

If you want the people you loved to see you at your most you, the last impression you make on earth can be a great one.

This is your opportunity to share your personality in the most wonderful way. How you die is indelibly marked on people for all time. That means you can be as creative, personal, loving, challenging, funny and brave as you would like.

The people you love and leave behind will appreciate the effort you put into making your last impression on this earth a great one.

Be as individual, loving, creative, sassy, spicy and unique as you were in life by creating end-of-life plans that suit your personality.

Want to know more about creating a Great Last Impression? Download our toolkit, start the conversation and get planning today!