Happy New Year!
It is that time of year when people are making new year's resolutions. Some common ones are; to eat healthier, lose weight, quit smoking, spend more time with family, spend less time on social media, get better sleep and the list goes on. Have you made any resolutions this year? What are your resolutions and why? Are you counting the resolutions that you didn’t actually resolve to, or are you celebrating the benefits of your resolve? For 2019, I have some ideas, they are not of the common variety of resolutions. I am thinking of life-changing, thought-provoking, self-motivating, heart challenging resolutions! I invite you to join me on this journey of my 2019 New Year’s Resolution to join the Conversation Project.
In the spring of 2018, I went to a conference introducing me to the Conversation Project. As a group, we set some goals, focused around preparing our own medical advanced directives, but I have to say, I did not follow through. Since then I have had many encounters and experiences that have directed my thoughts back to the goals and the Conversation Project. I keep saying to myself, “I have to get this done, but like so many other people, I put it off because “there is always tomorrow.” We never know when we are going to run out of tomorrows; so this is it. This is the year. I am resolving to join the Conversation Project.
What is The Conversation Project you ask? The Conversation Project is a public engagement initiative with a goal that is both simple and transformative: to have every person's wishes for end-of-life care expressed and respected. The Conversation Project website offers tools, guidance, and resources to begin talking with loved ones about your wishes and theirs.
The Conversation Project is not about promoting any specific preference for care; instead, it seeks to encourage and support people in expressing their wishes for care by being prepared in the event that something happens to prevent you from being able to make healthcare decisions for yourself and for your end of life care.
Before you turn 18, your parent or legal guardian is usually your health care proxy. Once you hit the legal age of adulthood, the responsibility and choices become your own and your parents are no longer your automatic health care proxy. This conversation is not just for old people, or dying people. This conversation is for all adults.
Many people avoid talking about death and dying unless it is happening. People are often uncomfortable talking about plans that focus on their mortality. It is not easy to think about things that can affect their ability to care for themselves; getting old, becoming dependent, getting sick, terminal illness or dying. Too often people wait too long and suffer through emotional and physical tolls that could be eased or avoided if they had talked to their doctors, families and loved ones and prepared their Medical Health Care Directives in advance. It is historically been considered a difficult conversation, but it doesn’t have to be. The more we talk about it, the more of a norm it becomes. I am in my mid 40’s, in good health and of sound mind. This is a good time to contemplate, evaluate and have the “conversation”. My 2019 resolution is to join the Conversation Project movement. I will be thinking and talking about my end of life care wishes with my spouse and children, making them aware of my wishes and talking to my healthcare provider to assist me in making a living document. I will engage in having Conversation Project discussions with family, friends, and community. I look forward to the benefit of having peace of mind that my wishes for end of life care are known, that I know the wishes of my loved ones and that the conversation is spreading to make it a normal part of our culture.
To learn more about the Conversation Project, go to their website at www.theconversationproject.org .
Written By Carol Moody, Scheduling Coordinator for PHCI