Ocean Water

END-OF-LIFE PLANNING

Things Everyone Should Know

Planning for your end-of-life can be a bit overwhelming. There is a lot to consider and it just never feels like the right time to tackle it. We all know our life will eventually end, yet thinking about it can make you feel uncomfortable and it is often difficult to talk about with family.

 

Thinking about your end-of-life, making arrangements and talking about your wishes can ease your discomfort. Having your affairs in order before a health crisis happens makes things easier for you and your family.

 

You will find comfort in knowing that you have clearly expressed your wishes and your family will know exactly how to support you when the time comes. Your family will be relieved, knowing they have all the information they need to honour your wishes.

 

Exploring the reality of death provides the opportunity to discover who and what are truly important to you, setting the stage for your life. It can inspire you to live and love fully.

How do I get my ducks in a row?

Explore your feeling around death and dying


What are your fears, hopes and beliefs?




Reflect on who really matters to you and what is really important in your life.


Consider what legacy you could leave behind for your loved ones that is personal and will help them stay connected to you after you are gone. How would you like to be remembered? You might write a love letter or the story of your life. Or it could be as simple as getting out old photos and writing on the back who the people are in the picture and a memory attached to that photo.




Think about who you want to make decisions for you when you are no longer able to speak for yourself.


You want to consider who would look after your finances and property and who would look after decisions regarding your medical care.




Organize your finances


Organize all your financials, life insurance and memberships. Don’t forget about your online presence as well. Who is going to delete your Facebook page after you are gone? Or do you want it to remain as a memorial site for family and friends?




Prepare or update your legal documents


Prepare your Power of Attorney for Personal Care and Property. Prepare or update your Will. Talk to your accountant, lawyer and/or financial advisor about estate planning. Make sure your Estate Trustee knows where your legal papers can be located.




Set up a “When I die” box


Set up a “When I die” box with all your important information in it and make sure your Estate Trustee is aware of where it is located. Remember to include your marriage certificate if you are married, so your spouse can easily find it when applying for Canada Pension Survivor Benefits. You might want to include the names and contact information for the people you would like to be contacted after death, to make it easier for your family and make sure the people you love are aware of your death. You may also want to tackle writing your own obituary or at least a list of things you’d like said.




Think about your relationships


Think about what relationships may need to be mended and reflect on your bucket list of unfulfilled dreams and wishes for your life.




Plan your final days or hours


Think about who you would like to be present, the sights, sounds and smells in your room, photographs or special pictures you would like with you and what music, if any, you’d like to be played during your last moments. Would you like a passage or poem read after your death? What would you like your loved ones to do immediately after you die?




Make sure your family is fully aware of your wishes and why you have made these decisions.


Ask them about their fears, hopes and desires to learn more about how they are feeling about death and dying.





At Huron Shores Hospice we can help get you started with your end-of-life planning. Please consider attending one of our End-of-Life Planning workshops where we will go over all the things you can consider when completing your end-of-life and vigil plans. We will help you think about who and what is important to you and help you prepare for that sometimes difficult decision with family.

Our End-of-Life Planning workshops will resume as soon as it is safe to gather in groups.

Some Helpful Resources

The Ministry of the Attorney General: Powers of Attorney

This booklet contains forms for Continuing Power of Attorney for Property and Power of Attorney for Personal Care. Published by the Government of Ontario.

 

Ontario Speak Up Campaign: Advance Care Planning, hosted by Hospice Palliative Care Ontario. 

This workbook contains information about having conversations with your family, friends, healthcare providers and especially your Substitute Decision Maker(s) about your future health and personal care wishes at the end of life.

 

“Planning For Incapacity – What You Need To Know” 

An article explaining the Powers of Attorney for Property and Personal Care documents. Written by Jane Martin, published by the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.

 

Power of Attorney for Personal Care information and Continuing Power of Attorney for Property Published by Community Legal Education Ontario.