At some point in your journey as a caregiver, you’ll have to make decisions for your loved one–perhaps as simple as deciding what type of food they can eat or as difficult as determining whether they want to be a tissue or organ donor.
In those difficult situations, knowing beforehand what your loved one’s wishes are can ease a very stressful time in your life. While your loved ones are healthy and vibrant, it’s important to have meaningful conversations with them about their hopes and wishes.
While it may feel uncomfortable, this includes their wishes regarding end-of-life decisions. Having this conversation and knowing your loved one’s preferences in advance will ease the process. When it comes down the wire, you won’t wonder if you’ve made the right decision.
If you’re unable to have that conversation with your loved one, you can reflect on your loved one when they were vibrant and healthy. Think back: Was he/she a giving and helpful person? Someone who wanted to make a difference in the life of others? Answering “yes” to these questions might provide you with the answer you’re looking for when asked to make a decision about a loved one who has not expressed their donor wishes prior to their death.
Sometimes people think they or their loved ones can’t be donors because of an illness or family history. Let health care professionals determine this for you. Most people, regardless of age or illness, can donate.
The gift of life by being a donor can provide the donor family a path to healing during a time of terrible grief. It will give you something positive to hang on to during a painful time. It will give you comfort in the moment and for years to come.