Does the name Terry Schiavo ring a bell? 

Back in 2005, Terry was famous. She’d suffered massive cardiac arrest, and she became brain dead - in medical terminology, she was in a “persistent vegetative state.” Her husband said that she’d said she wanted to die if she was ever in that condition; her parents fought to keep her alive. It went back and forth in the courts and in Congress until, finally, she was taken off life support and passed away. 

Every day, families across the country deal with questions of what a person’s final wishes might be. Most people don’t leave any indication of what they want done with their body if their mind fails them - and these questions could all be avoided with something called an Advance Directive. Advance Directives let people decide how they want to be treated if, for some reason, they can’t make or communicate decisions about how they want to live (or die). They are simple to make, easy to change, and legally binding. 

But how do you get them? How do you bring Advance Directives up with your spouse, your parents, or your children? What’s the best way to discuss wills? How do you delicately and respectfully bring up end-of-life planning issues with a parent or grandparent? Really, how do we talk about one of the most important things in life: death? 

We’ll be talking about all of these issues on Tuesday, October 13, at 6:30 p.m. at Mahall’s in Lakewood. With us will be doctors, lawyers, social workers and other people who deal with these issues every day. RSVP here, then join us to learn more and ask any questions you might have.

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Copyright © 2015 Andrew Samtoy; available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

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