Answers To Questions Asked During Presentations That Don’t Fit Anywhere Else
Planning Ahead: I spend a few minutes at the start of every presentation talking about the importance of planning ahead. First, have these three documents in place:
A will. (Maine has a Statutory Will Form. You can buy a copy for $1.00 at any county courthouse or get online for about $5)
Advance Directives: Compassion and Choices offers easy access to the form for any state AND great advice about filling them out. Make sure the people you have nominated to make decisions for you know what you want by taking the Healthcare Decisions Quiz.
Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs. Take a look at http://free-power-of-attorney-forms.com
Maine Legal Services for the Elderly gives free advice on non-criminal matters to Mainers over 60 (http://mainelse.org/content/wills-and-probate or 800.750.5353)
Then decide what you want to have happen to your body after your death and write it down. A good place to do that is the booklet “Before I Go, You Should Know” available from the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Maine (the booklet comes in the membership packet), but you can find others on the web. Then DISCUSS YOUR WISHES WITH YOUR FAMILY. It’s a difficult conversation to get started, but it is very important for them to know what you want and agree with your choices. Here’s my list of helpful sources:
Conversations About Death and Dying
Let me know what resources I can add to (or remove from) this list to make it better: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Conversation Project (http://theconversationproject.org/)
Compassion and Choices (http://compassionandchoices.org)
Start the Conversation (http://www.starttheconversationvt.org/)
Death Over Dinner (http://deathoverdinner.org)
A Documentary Film:
Consider the Conversation: A Documentary Film on a Taboo Subject
A Card Game:
Go Wish (www.gowish.org) A card game designed to help you find words about what is important if you were to be living a life that may be shortened by serious illness.
SUPPORTING THE HUMAN RIGHT TO A DEATH WITH DIGNITY
Final Exit Network (http://www.finalexitnetwork.org/
Compassion and Choices (http://www.compassionandchoices.org/)
Death With Dignity National Center (http://www.deathwithdignity.org)
Funeral Homes in Your Area: To find a list of funeral homes in your area, go to http://www.imortuary.com/funeral-homes/ It’s not a perfect list, but it’s better than any other I’ve found, and you can choose a distance from your location. Or you can check the Yellow Pages under “Funeral Directors” and “Funeral Homes & Mortuaries.”
Headstones: The best consumer info on headstones I’ve found is here: http://www.gravemarkers.info/ Let me know if you have a better source.
Dying Overseas: Here’s what I’ve found. Let me know if you have other sources.
From the State Department: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/abroad/events-and-records/death.html
From the Funeral Consumers Alliance: Death Outside the US at http://www.funerals.org/faq/54-death-away-from-home
Healthcare Decisions Quiz: (http://www.compassionandchoices.org/userfiles/Healthcare-Decisions-Game-Quiz-for-You.pdf) Helps you decide just how you want to be treated at the end of you life and helps those you’ve nominated in your advance directives to understand just what you want.