Not everyone can control how their life will end. Certainly accidents happen, or strokes or heart attacks cause sudden death. In those cases, the end may happen in an instant. But the most of us will know in advance that the end of life is near. Old age, bad hearts, disease - these affect us over a period of time, and we know that eventually we will die.
The annual April 16 recognition of National Health Care Decisions Day acknowledges the importance of filling out your health care proxy, appointing someone you trust to speak for you if you're unable to speak.
One of the major benefits to completing your health care proxy will be the discussion you have with your loved ones about your wishes. Noting your wishes in legal documents won't do you much good if those who must make decisions for you don't know they exist.
''National Health Care Decisions Day must include discussions,'' states Ron Sellers, CEO of Hospice Chautauqua County. ''Help your family/friend understand why you made the choices you made, and make sure you clear up any misunderstandings before your documents must be used and decisions must be carried out.''
Clarifying your values and beliefs, answering questions about your end of life care ahead of time, based on your wishes, not only gives you the peace of mind that goes with knowing how it will happen, but provides your loved ones with guidance on how to make decisions on your behalf.
Hospice Chautauqua County is dedicated to caring for patients and families facing terminal illness. Hospice offers a range of services through a team concept to meet the physical as well as the emotional needs of both the patient and the family. If you are interested in finding out more information on Hospice Chautauqua County, please visit our website at hospicechautco.org or call 338-0033.
When a 10-year-old was asked ''What is living?'' he replied ''Feeling good enough to do what I want, when I want.'' Hospice Chautauqua County is committed to helping people enjoy a great quality of life for as long as possible. To assist that vision, The Post-Journal will include a monthly healthcare column and invites your questions and comments to be sent to Hospice, 20 Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, NY 14750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.