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  • Craig Meadows

5 Arrangements To Make When You Have A Terminal Illness

There is no positive way to process the news that you or a loved one has a terminal illness. It is a devastating thing to hear, and the shock of the news can easily dull any sense of what it actually means for those who are left behind. However, once this initial shock wears off, it is important to turn your thoughts to practical matters and arrangements. These may not be easy to make, but they can make the transition smoother and more pain-free for everyone involved.

End-Of-Life Arrangements

The time you have left should be spent figuring out how you want to spend your final days. How do you want to die? At home, surrounded by family? In a hospital or dedicated care facility, with medical support to manage pain? Whatever your preference, a hospice care team can guide you and provide much-needed support throughout the process.

Funeral Arrangements

Making your own funeral arrangements (including making plans with Teraloom) ensures you get exactly what you want, and it takes a huge burden off your loved ones, both emotionally and financially. A good place to start is figuring out what your preferred service and arrangements would cost, and to see how they fit with your budget. You can actually price shop and look for ways to save, leaving more money in your estate that can go toward medical bills or as an inheritance for your loved ones. Note that the average funeral costs between $7,000 and $9,000, but this can vary based on the services provided. If you’re a homeowner, you may consider refinancing your home to free up cash if you plan to prepay for your funeral.

Advance Directives

It is easy to become confused about all the different types of paperwork you have to fill out to ensure your wishes surrounding your death and treatment are maintained. Most of these fall under the broad term “Advance Directives,” and there are two particularly important ones:

Living Will - Sets out which medical choices you would like to be made if you are unable to make them yourself

Durable Power Of Attorney For Healthcare - Names a person to act as your proxy in case you are unable to make medical decisions

Another type of advance directive is called the Five Wishes. This clearly sets out your desires and expectations, and is the single most popular form of living will in America. If you want to use it, make sure your state accepts it as a legal document first.

Last Will And Testament

If you do not already have a last will and testament, this is the time to get it done. There are two main ways to go about it: use a free template from the internet, or hire an attorney to draft the document for you. The former is a perfectly good option if you have a simple, straightforward estate, while the latter is recommended for more complex cases.

Support Networks

It’s one thing to zero in on the busy work and documentation associated with your situation. But once that’s all said and done, you’re left with navigating a deluge of emotions. That’s why it’s crucial to have the appropriate support network to get you through this. This applies whether you are the one who is ill or whether it’s your loved one who has a terminal diagnosis.

On an emotional level, open and honest communication is key. No one should be forced to talk about their emotions if they are uncomfortable, but everyone involved should have at least a few people they can talk to. Forgiveness and patience are also crucial: emotions run high during these times, and there is no “perfect” way to react to this situation.

To help with practical matters, first establish things like cooking meals, helping with house upkeep, or driving to medical appointments can all be a huge source of support. Plus, it allows your loved ones the opportunity to take action when they might be feeling otherwise helpless. As you make the necessary arrangements, make sure you have someone at hand you can trust and who can assist you when everything becomes too much. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the decisions you are expected to make, just know don’t have to make them by yourself. If you are a loved one, make yourself available and offer to help however you can. This is not an easy journey, but by addressing these arrangements now, you can ensure you live your final days with peace and dignity.

Craig Meadows is the creator of Surviving Day One. Having dealt with three life-changing challenges in his life, he created the site to offer support to anyone going through a traumatic or difficult experience. When he isn’t working on his website, he works as an accountant and enjoys spending time with his family hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

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