The New York Times recently had a powerful article titled Who Are We Caring for in the I.C.U.?  It features a doctor reckoning with patient’s family members insisting on care that the patient may not want.  It breaks my heart that families don’t talk with each other in advance about what they want as the end of life comes.

Five Wishes is an easy-to-use legal advance directive document written in everyday language. It helps all adults, regardless of age or health, to consider and document how they want to be cared for at the end of life. It is America’s most popular living will with more than 40 million copies in circulation.  Please don’t wait another minute.

When my husband, who had Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia, got pneumonia we were 100% sure of his wishes and it made all the difference in the world.  No arguing, no second guessing.  Just implementing his wishes and making his last days the best they could be.

If and when I am no longer mentally competent and there is little or no likelihood that I will regain mental competence as determined by my physicians, I not only request but demand that in the event of infections, including pneumonia or other serious infections, I do not want parenteral antibiotics or oral antibiotics which in any way could be interpreted as life-saving … I wish to reemphasize that when I am no longer mentally competent, it is my wish to die in a normal course of events without benefit of medical intervention.

So please, have the conversations you need to have now.  Don’t wait until its too late.


You will find my book Parkinson’s: A Love Story with Dementia for Dessert on Amazon.  Your feedback and reviews are most welcome.

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