Skip to content
Font Size

Health Care Agents : Appointing One and Being One

How can I talk about these issues?

Talking about end-of-life issues can be difficult for anyone. One way to approach the subject is to talk about why you have decided to name an agent.

For example:

Recommended Related to Healthy Seniors

Role Reversal: Caregiving for Aging Parents

Hannah Kalil is 83 years old, and lives by herself in upstate New York. She has aides who help with her caregiving throughout the day. But the responsibility of managing her finances, health care -- both mental and physical -- and long-term living situation falls to one person: her daughter -- and my mother -- Eleanor. It's almost a full-time job. Making sure my grandmother is happy and not feeling lonely means daily visits. Her never-ending stream of medical issues means weekly -- if not more frequent...

Read the Role Reversal: Caregiving for Aging Parents article > >

  • Did a particular event cause you to make the decision?

  • Did an article you read in the newspaper or something that happened to a family member make you think about it?

  • Is the decision part of a broader effort on your part to prepare for the end of life, for instance making your last will and testament for distribution of your property?

  • What is motivating you to take these actions now?

Sometimes sharing your personal concerns and values, your spiritual beliefs, or your views about what makes life worth living can be as helpful to your agent as talking about specific treatments and circumstances. For example:

  • How important is it to be to be physically independent and to stay in your own home? Independence can be extremely important to some and maybe less important to others.

  • What aspects of your life give it the most meaning?

  • How important would it be for you to be able to recognize people or interact with them?

  • What are your particular concerns about dying? About death?

  • How do your religious or spiritual beliefs affect your attitudes toward dying and death? Would you want your agent to take into account the effect of your illness on any other people?

  • Should financial concerns enter into decisions about your treatment?

  • Would you prefer to die at home if possible?

These are not simple questions and your views may change. It is important that you review these issues with your agent from time to time.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
Remember your finger
Are You Getting More Forgetful?
fruit drinks
Eat these to think better.
No gym workout
Moves to help control blood sugar.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Close up of eye
12 reasons you're distracted.
birth control pills
Which kind is right for you?
embarrassed woman
Do you feel guilty after eating?
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
woman biting a big ice cube
Habits that wreck your teeth.
pacemaker next to xray
Treatment options.
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.