The benefits of chronicling a life’s journey
Baines recounts the story of how he became interested in the topic of ethical wills.
During a hospice team meeting, he was told about a man dying from pancreatic cancer. The man was only in his late 40′s and was consumed with the fear that he would soon be forgotten once he died. He was, as Haines puts it, “afraid of losing his transcendence,” his ability to impact the lives of his progeny.
Upon hearing this man’s story, Baines and a team of hospice workers and spiritual counselors got together and came up with a list of questions to ask the man about his life and his values—essentially creating the outline for an ethical will. Once the man was done penning his answers, the immense burden of his spiritual suffering was lifted.
According to Baines, this is the most profound benefit that people—particularly those who are suffering from a terminal illness—receive from writing an ethical will. Though he also says that, no matter what stage of life someone choses to put their goals and beliefs on paper, they often find a profound sense of peace once they are done.
Even the caregiver, whose life is not coming to an end, may find serenity and even a sense of accomplishment when they take the time to sit down and think about the lessons and they have learned and the values they have upheld during their caregiving journey.
Caregivers and seniors can also benefit from working on their ethical wills together. Common themes are likely to come up and bonding can occur over shared experiences and wisdom.
Ethical Wills Lend Clarity to Caregivers and Serenity to Seniors originally appeared on AgingCare.com.