Monday, November 4, 2013

Legacy Plans - 7 Personality Traits for Your Personal Advocate

1. Caring: We all want to be taken care of, especially at the end of our life. Chose a friend or relative that truly cares about you wellbeing. Do they call and see how you are doing or do they just call if they need something? Check out their authenticity and sincerity. Your advocate need not live close. With the age of computers and email your advocate can be involved with you electronically or in person.2. Responsible: Give someone a small task and see how they take care of the task. Do they squander the gifts you give them or do they act responsibly and care for the gift? People who are responsible in life live good lives, for instance, they pay their bills on time, have good relationships, and plan for retirement. Does your choice have these characteristics?3. Coach: Being your advocate they need to be able to follow instructions, the ones you have prepared in your document. A strong willed person can not be coached. The coached person will be able to confer with medical professionals and family members. After they have conferred with the appropriate persons, can they still follow your wishes? Are they able to gather information and make appropriate decisions from the facts?4. Conversation: You will also be speaking with this advocate and sharing your expressed written plan. This conversation is probably the most important task in choosing an advocate. Having this much responsibility - making life and death decisions - deserves an honest and forthright discussion of your wishes and needs for end-of-life-care.5. Ask for help: Is your advocate willing to ask for help. In time of duress making decisions is very difficult, having the ability to be able to determine the need to seek help is very important. When the need arises, will the advocate seek the advice of the nurses and physicians for understanding and consideration of your expressed wishes?6. Stand firm: There may be contentious relatives and friends at your greatest time of need. But your living will is a firm document that you wish to have followed. If the need arises, the advocate will need to be very strong to stand up for you when you are not able to make any decisions for yourself. This is often a once in a live time event; the advocate is a strong person willing to follow your expressed wishes.7. Trust and Respect: All of the above aside, you advocate will trust and respect your wishes above all else. Your expressed living will/advanced directive is a clear concise document directing your final days. By having all the above characteristics for your advocate you can feel comfortable with your choice.Most of us never have to use the advanced directive/living will. But without one we are left vulnerable to the directives of the medical profession (life at any cost) and the emotions of your family members at your bedside. By having an advanced directive/living will prepared and the advocate chosen you can feel assured that your care and well being will be honored and respected.

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