Making Your Own Decisions For Life
By Milton L. Cruz (Insignia Senior Living CEO)
How to Decide The Right Time to Execute a Living Will
About 5 years ago, my parents moved into one of our Insignia Senior Living communities. At the time, they were both of sound minds and had no memory issues or impairments, so it was fitting to prepare living wills looking ahead for the future. As time went by, things changed, and so did the state of their memories. Soon, they both came to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
This realization was devastating. My mother, who had always carried herself with a regal air and poise, could no longer walk on her own, and her speech was difficult to understand. My father, who was a brilliant attorney in his youth and inspired and motivated me to be the career and family man I am today, started to make up stories and conjure up non-existent scenarios.
A week ago, my mother visited her Neurologist, who recommended a form of invasive artificial procedure. The outcome of it would be minor in comparison to the pain she would suffer after undergoing it. So, my sister and I were at a loss about what to do. Should we submit our mother to something so painful when we didn’t even know if it’s what she would want? It’s a decision we were struggling to make. Thankfully, we remembered their Living Will, and we were grateful to find the answer there. Thanks to the will, we knew what our mother would have decided for herself, and we did as she asked.
It was at that moment that I realized how important it was to sign a Living Will at the right time, before running the risk of an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis. My wife and I learned our lesson and shortly after my mother’s situation, we signed our very own Living Wills. This ensures that our 2 sons and other family members will never have to wonder what we would choose to do in a difficult situation. The answers will be at their disposal always, no matter the circumstance.
So how do you know at what point you need to start thinking about these things?
When is the right time to sign a Living Will? The right time is now.