Loved ones should discuss end of life wishes before it’s too late

My aunt, who has advanced Alzheimer’s dementia, no longer recognizes herself in the mirror and fights staff over washing her hair. Nothing about how she lived her life suggests to me that she would want to continue living in this manner.I would like to encourage residents of Illinois to consider their wishes for end of life.

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Terminally ill residents of Illinois should have the option, in consultation with their family, physician or faith leader, to make the end-of-life care decisions that are right for them, a Sun-Times reader writes.

Terminally ill residents of Illinois should have the option, in consultation with their family, physician or faith leader, to make the end-of-life care decisions that are right for them, a Sun-Times reader writes.

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Over the last few years, thousands of Illinois families faced the unbearable pain of losing loved ones unexpectedly. Sadly, many of those who passed did not have the opportunity to tell their families what kind of treatment and support they wanted until they were in the midst of a medical crisis or terminal diagnosis. It does not have to be this way.

I am appealing to you as both an advanced practice nurse in neurology and a long-distance caregiver for my aunt who lives with advanced Alzheimer’s dementia. She was a kind, fiercely independent, dignified, funny and stylish woman. Now, she no longer recognizes herself in the mirror and fights staff over washing her hair. Nothing about how she lived her life suggests to me that she would want to continue living in this manner.

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My aunt spent nearly 40 years saving her money for retirement and paying into long-term care. While we should all save for, and are likely to experience, some sort of unexpected events in retirement, no one ever plans on using all of these hard-earned funds to pay for help with showering, eating and walking. Ask yourself right now how you would like to spend your retirement savings. Next, ask your loved ones how they would like to spend theirs. Your answers will likely not include spending six figures per year on an understaffed memory care facility, unnecessary emergency room visits and on items like adult briefs and sedating, side-effect-ridden medications. And if there are no savings to spend in the first place, then these conversations are even more crucial to have with yourself and your family.

Terminally ill residents of Illinois should have the option, in consultation with their family, physician or faith leader, to make the end-of-life care decisions that are right for them —decisions that align with their values, priorities and beliefs.

April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. I would like to encourage residents of Illinois to consider their wishes for end of life.

Melissa L. Budahazy, Lake View

Ignore Trump. Tennessee GOP is more outrageous.

As usual, the Donald Trump circus is dominating the news 24/7, which increases the likelihood that he will be the GOP nominee and possibly the president again. This continuous coverage has overshadowed a chilling story unfolding in Tennessee where some GOP state representatives filed three resolutions to expel three of their Democratic colleagues who held a protest calling for gun reforms on the chamber floor last week.

These Democrats may have broken the rules of decorum by holding the peaceful rally on the House floor just days after three 9-year-olds and three adults were killed in a mass shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville. But expelling them from the Tennessee legislature is outrageous. The GOP super-majority voted on the partisan expulsions on Thursday, thereby removing these elected officials from office. This is an egregious abuse of power. I hope the media limits its time on the Trump clown show to focus instead on the Tennessee GOP lawmakers’ alarming response to the protest and its repercussions.

Mary Gignilliat, Lincoln Park

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