Natural Dying Living Will Cards / My Way Cards
Q: My goal is Natural Dying: Where do I start?
Q: Why do I need a Living Will?
Q: What happens after I sorth the Natural Dying Living Will Cards / My Way Cards?
Natural Dying Forms
Q: Why are there so many forms?
What is MyLastWishes.org?
Q: What are the benefits for using MyLastWishes.org?
A: MyLastWihes.org lets clinicians rapidly view emergency orders; obtain downloads/faxes of your clinical and strategic forms; and view videos by you and your physician. You can avoid unwanted treatment; increase your chances of surviving a medical emergency; provide your contact information including your address and map (if you get lost); and play videos that will convince others to HONOR your Known Wishes so you can attain the goal of a timely, peaceful transition.
Q: Why do I need to make a video?
Q: Can I get help entering my information?
A: Yes. You can call a Caring Advocates staff person who can take your information over the phone and enter it for you. Call 800 64 PEACE
(800 647 3223). You can also send Caring Advocates all the forms you want stored for rapid, future retrieval.
Q: What happens in an emergency if you set up the MyLastWishes.org Program?
Advanced Dementia / Alzheimer's
Q: What are the signs of Advanced Dementia / Alzheimer's?
List of Criteria of Advanced Dementia to Consider Natural Dying
- About myself: I cannot recall or appreciate the important past events of my life. I cannot recall my life-long values. I am not aware of myself. I do not respond to my own name. I do not recognize myself in the mirror. My actions embarrass or hurt my family. I cannot remember my past or what gave my life meaning, but I can still enjoy the simple pleasures of living;
- Expressing my wishes to increase my pleasure and decrease my pain: I cannot say or show what I want by using words or gestures. My utterances and gestures do not consistently indicate “Yes” or “No.” I cannot make or carry out plans to get what I want. I do not understand how current actions lead to future goals. I can think but cannot express myself in any way and being “locked-in” makes me feel socially isolated, lonely and sad. Since I lost the ability to complain, my doctors do not know I am suffering or in pain so they do not treat me effectively;
- Relating to others: I cannot recognize family members or cherished friends. I seem puzzled by who they are; or I identify them incorrectly. I utter no words or sounds and make no gestures, as others enter and leave my presence. I do not initiate social activities. I do not express feelings of love or affection. I cannot feel spiritual, pray to, or relate to a Supreme Being;
- Dependency and Dignity: I am totally dependent on others for basic care. I cannot bathe or dress myself. I am incontinent times two and others must change my diapers. My behavior no longer reflects my life-long values. My confusion makes me resist help I need. If I could see my future behavior now, I would conclude that I have lost my “dignity”;
- My mood, even with treatment: I rarely express joy or pleasure. I am almost always apathetic, despondent and non-responsive… or confused, worried and frustrated. I am plagued by severe fear, horror, panic, or hallucinations or delusions. I am agitated or aggressive without provocation. I need physical restraints or high doses of medication to prevent me from hurting myself or striking others;
- Burdens versus effectiveness: To keep me alive, I require almost constant basic care or life-sustaining medical treatment that cannot restore my overall quality of life or allow me to live independently without intense medical care that institutions typically provide. The only way to relieve my unending, unbearable pain and suffering is to give me enough sedating medications so I am no longer conscious. Treating me for a reasonable time for potentially curable life-threatening illnesses (such as an infection) might allow me to enjoy life’s simple pleasures again, if I previously could enjoy them (as in the middle stage of dementia);
- Burdens versus benefits: Prolonging my dying provides me no benefit that I can appreciate, but meanwhile burdens on my loved ones are great. Their sacrifices include: depleting their finances, diverting their attention from other important activities and responsibilities of their lives, and suffering from physical exhaustion or mental depression. I have changed greatly but my body still looks like me so prolonging my dying also prolongs the grieving of my loved ones;
- Regarding food and fluid: I require much help and encouragement to eat and drink. I have lost the mental ability to eat and drink. I cannot ingest enough food so I am slowly starving to death. My actions indicate I do not want to eat. Since I forget to chew and swallow, food stays in my mouth unless skilled helpers place thickened puree at the back of my tongue to get me to swallow by reflex. If food slips into my lungs it could cause pneumonia; however tube feeding cannot prevent this or help me live longer or better.
Q: At what precise point do I want to stop receiving all life-sustaining treatments-if they will just prolong my dying and are likely to increase my pain and suffering?
A: Natural Dying Living Will Cards/My Way Cards describes a single item by a few simple words and a cartoon-like illustration. Sort them to indicate your preferences for your future decision-makers to use as a GUIDE to determine WHEN to Permit Natural Dying. Sorting Natural Dying Living Will Cards/My Way Cards also lets you choose just how strongly you want future decision-makers to honor your current instructions versus to consider other future factors.