Death, Taxes and Fashion -- Huh? April 09 2014, 0 Comments

You have probably also heard the saying, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” Well, we all know April 15 is tax deadline day. The next day, April 16, has been deemed National Healthcare Decisions Day. Sad as it is, death is a part of our human experience, just a certain as taxes, and we need to plan ahead for how we want the last chapters in our lives to play out. April 16 is a day set aside to help raise awareness of the importance of talking about your end of life wishes and making sure your intentions are written down and on record.

So where does fashion fit into death and taxes? Every time you purchase Go Free Pants, you are helping out a cause that is very near and dear to my heart – hospice care for patients and families facing the sad but certain reality of end of life. When I had the brainstorm to turn traditional pants into a revolutionary, comfortable, sexy pant by replacing the cross seam with a smooth cotton panel and making undergarments optional, I decided this new business could be a way to do something I’ve always wanted to do -- establish an endowment for hospice to help support the special care they offer patients and families dealing with end of life issues.

One thing I’ve learned from my years of working with hospice is that it is extremely important to be prepared for facing the last chapters of your life. You might have a very clear idea of what you want for yourself, whether it’s do not resuscitate, or for doctors to use as much life support as needed to keep you going until the very end. But unless you make sure to communicate those wishes with your loved ones and your doctors, someone might end up making those decisions for you without your wishes in mind.

It turns out, being prepared is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Decide, discuss, and document. Go to www.gotplansnc.org for all the resources you need. Once you have a clear idea of what you want, be sure to talk over your decisions with your loved ones. It is important to make your thoughts and feelings known and clear so when the time comes, your friends and family are comfortable in knowing what you wanted, and the person you chose to be your health care power of attorney feels confident in making decisions based on your wishes.

Then document your wishes. There are two documents you want to complete, and both are found on www.gotplansnc.org. The Living Will has to do with life support (ventilation and artificial nutrition/hydration) and is where you state how much or how little intervention you would like to take place. The Healthcare Power of Attorney is a legal document where you select another person to make decisions for you in the event you are no longer able to make decisions on your own.

It is easy to put off these decisions when we are feeling good. But it is important to do it now, before the crisis. Too many end of life decisions happen at the bedside, which is the last place they should be made. Everyone is in a brain freeze at the bedside, unable to think straight. So celebrate National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16 with your family, and complete your own Advanced Directives now, while you are happy, healthy and living large. Then encourage your family members to do the same. And if you miss April 16, it’s okay! Just do it! Now is better than later, but just do it!