Often times in my work as a hospice social worker, and now when playing The Death Deck, I spend a lot of time talking to people about their end of life wishes. In doing so, I regularly encounter the mindset, “Let my family decide, I don’t care.” At first glance, and to many people, this seems like a nice gesture. The assumption is that the individual is so easy going that they are willing to let others decide how to handle their end of life experience and what is done with their body.
Unfortunately, this type of thinking often leads to their family members being in stressful and complicated situations.
Besides basketball and St. Patrick’s Day, March is also Social Work month! It’s a time to share information about the career of a social worker and what social workers bring to the world.
I’ve worked with a lot of different populations through my career as a social worker, but I found my true passion when I became a hospice social worker over twelve years ago. What do I do as a hospice social worker? Let’s start with a short introduction into hospice.
It’s so hard to know what to do and say when someone is experiencing illness.
I’ve been going through some health issues which resulted in two surgeries within a month. The recovery from these surgeries has been slow. During this process, people have been very supportive and loving. Here’s a list of ten things that have helped to lift my spirits, made me feel less alone, and/or helped my family.
Today, I remember my grandma before the dementia days. A strong German woman who subscribed to routine and hard work. We used to have family dinner at my grandparents every week while my brother and I were growing up. Sunday menu never varied; a baked ham, a bunch of hot dogs to supplement the ham that ran out, boiled potatoes, white Tupperware filled with beets, another Tupperware filled with carrots, and then being that they were bean farmers, a giant bowl of typically now lukewarm beans. Zucchini bread for desert although once in awhile some Neapolitan ice cream. Every week of my childhood this was the Sunday meal at grandmas house. The woman loved her routine.
I thought we were prepared.
Will. Check. Advance Health Care Directive. Check. Life Insurance. (Thankfully) Check.
Final wishes, thoughts on leaving a legacy, funeral/celebration plans, end-of-life requests...Nope. None of these had been covered.