Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - 26

Q

What if I Don't
Designate a
Decision Maker?

You don't have to choose someone to make
decisions for you. In that case, if you're
unable to make medical decisions for yourself, your state likely has a plan in place-
called a "natural order of priority"-that
outlines who is called upon. But that outcome can be undesirable for two reasons:
The person named to make decisions for
you might not be the person you would
choose, and that person might be forced
to make difficult decisions quickly without
knowing what you would want.

Q

How Should My Wishes
Be Carried Out?

Your living will outlines the type
of care you would like if you couldn't make
decisions on your own. "It's about making sure you're given a voice to talk when
you can no longer use your own," Banach
says. Your doctor can help you decide what
to include.

TACKLING THE TALK

Some families manage life care planning conversations matter-of-factly.
But for others, these conversations
prove challenging.
Discomfort is natural, but it can be
overcome. Financial planner Elizabeth
Revenko recommends a game called
Hello (commonpractice.com/hello).
The game encourages family members
to ask each other questions like, "What
music do you want to be listening to on
your last day alive?" The answers can help
everyone get clarity about their wishes,
so completing the documents is easier.
"And if there's a subject someone doesn't
want to discuss, you can move on to the
next thing," Revenko says.

26

W IN TER 2017

Edo Banach, of the National Hospice
and Palliative Care Organization, recommends starting these conversations when
the family is gathered for an event such
as a birthday or Thanksgiving. Talking
about these issues when someone is sick,
or when someone is scheduling surgery,
adds to the stress.
"It's important that this be done
before there's a crisis," he says. "It's
easier to have these conversations when
there isn't any drama. When there's
drama going on, that's when it's most
difficult to get consensus."
If your family is struggling to have
these conversations, professionals such
as elder-care service providers can help.

Ask your doctor for a recommendation, or search online for providers in
your area.

WEBSITE

Don't Have a
Directive?
Then Virginia law decides who
makes your medical decisions
if you're hurt in an accident.
Learn more at uvahealth.
com/medicaldirective.


http://www.commonpractice.com/hello http://uvahealth.com/medicaldirective http://uvahealth.com/medicaldirective

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - 2
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover4
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