1) The palliative care stage begins when your doctor / care professionals give you notice that you have 6 months or less until end of life. Not all seniors need palliative care – it really depends on the manner of your decline. I don’t know how to put this delicately but if you linger – more than likely, you will require palliative care.
2) In Canada, hospice and palliative care are used to refer to the same thing. However, some people use hospice care to describe care that is offered in the community rather than in hospitals. Both definitions refer to a specific type of care — a type of care that alleviates end of life suffering.
3) If you decide to go the “assisted” route, then palliative care communities aren’t the route for you. Palliative care is intended for those who want to go right until the end — unassisted. Some of my friends figured that they would go the palliative route until they decide not to but palliative doesn’t work this way – you kind of have to commit at the 6 month mark, sort of. It’s the type of thing that is understood but never really discussed – do you know what I mean? Any questions, please join the chat… Mats and Pats Chat Room.
4) Several hospitals support assisted dying wishes, several do not — so, it’s a good idea to try and figure this all out beforehand. Speak with your doctor, your family and friends.
5) If you go the palliative care route, remember — find your joy! It can be hard on your family and friends to see you decline so, make requests that will make your heart sing. You want a beer…have a beer. You want a sing-along; well, have a singalong, etc. The palliative care providers are really great at helping you figure it all out, just ask.
6) Currently, (October 2016) the coroners office lists assisted deaths as natural deaths but this could change. Why is it important? Think in terms of insurance pay outs — funeral arrangements and the like.
7) Try and have your funeral arrangements figured out before you pass. This way, you get to decide how your story will end.