Harvard Press: In what many people consider the worst cases, we don’t die at all, at least not for a long time. Instead we live on for months or years in a vegetative state, or with a brain and/or a personality that in younger years we would not have recognized as our own. And we are no longer capable of taking care of ourselves, or of making decisions about our own care.
Fortunately, this doesn’t happen to all of us, but in one respect, we might be better off if it did. Because then we’d know we had to prepare for it.
Well, we still need to prepare, and that’s what the Conversation Project is about. A free booklet (which you can print out at home) takes you through the process of figuring out what you would want others to decide on your behalf, particularly when it comes to the kind of medical care you’d want to receive or avoid, depending on the state you were in. There’s lots to consider here, and it’s a good idea to think about it carefully, and discuss it with your spouse or partner, if you have one, and then with your children, if you have them. It’s also important, finally, to put your wishes into writing, using a format that will carry legal weight.