It's that time of year when little kids pull on masks and troll the neighborhood for candy, while adults overspend on costumes and thousands from all over Southern California flock to theme parks to have the daylights scared out of them.
It's the season of Halloween, or maybe Dia de Los Muertos, and besides carving pumpkins, loading up on mini-bags of peanut M&Ms and thinking lots about the dead, we also pause at this time of year to, sort of, celebrate our fears.
Thanatophobic? Plan for End-of-Life Care While Able, Healthy
When we're afraid of grave illness and death, we often react with denial. We see ourselves as spry centenarians, passing after cocktail hour and a delightful repast with our beloveds surrounding us on a tropical isle. The reality, far more often, is chronic illness, pain management, medical interventions and questions about where we live and who will care for us.
Speak candidly with your doctor and loved ones about creating an advance care directive, a document putting down your wishes on paper about how you want to live in the event of a serious injury or illness. Consider carefully what it would mean to be on a respirator or a feeding tube for a long period. Speak in simple terms about your limits for impairment of your body, mind and function. Draft the document, and then put it where it can be found easily in a time of need, a service offered by California's Advance Directive Registry.
It's not too early for adults of any age to plan for their death. Do you want to register as an organ donor, say, with Donate Life California? More than 21,000 Californians need organ transplants. An organ donation could save the lives of as many as eight people -- and tissue donation could help as many as 50 more.