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Who will be your voice?

Who would you trust to make end-of-life decisions for you if you could no longer speak? A family member might not be best, as we discussed in our EndNotes column today. Here's an excerpt:

The person you choose to be your agent doesn’t need to be your favorite person. Instead, Chaplain Zac Willette of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago said: “It’s the person you know is strong enough in the middle of a complex and emotional situation to honor your wishes and serve as your voice. It’s not a popularity contest, it’s a grace-under-pressure contest. And when we choose agents that are clear-headed and will honor what we’ve told them our wishes are, everybody wins.”

Another question to ponder: When you've picked the person to be your “voice” what will you tell him/her about your wishes? Do you want to come back to life, no matter how debilitated you'll be? Or like me, do you want to come back only if you're 99 percent the same?

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About this blog

Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

Ask a question: Catherine welcomes questions about aging issues and grief. Email her at

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