When making life-ending decisions, the most important person
(or former person) to consider is the individual whose life is ending.
Our deaths belong to us more deeply than anything else we can own.

     Thus the first death-planning document must come from ourselves.
We are the ones who will either go on experiencing life
or draw our lives to a close.
And when we consider our lives at any given moment,
we usually decide that we want to continue living.  
But there might come a time when we decide
that the burdens of continuing to live are greater than
the benefits we or others derive from our continued existence.

     All of us should formulate our philosophies of living and dying
while we are still in good health and able to think clearly.  
And we should put our decisions about life and death into 'living wills'
—better called "Advance Directives for Medical Care".

    The most complete Advance Directive will address such matters as:
appointing good proxies, decline of quality of life, levels of personhood,
medical costs, nursing-home placement, & ideal pathways towards death.
Explore all dimensions of comprehensive Advance Directives here:

    Once we have created at least a good draft
of our Advance Directive for Medical Care,
we should share it with others who will be affected by our decisions.
Then at least those family members and friends who will be our proxies
should be asked to create their own statements of support,
expressing their willingness to carry forward our settled values
if and when we are no longer able to make medical decisions
or to express our own wishes.

    And in the context of life-ending decisions,
such statements of support should explicitly address
the question of whether the family members and/or the proxies
support the patient's medical ethics explained in the Advance Directive.

    When several family members or proxies have the same views,
they can all sign the same statement of understanding and support.
But it would be better for each person to write an individual statement.

    In some cases, a circle of friends and relatives
will be serving on the Medical Care Decisions Committees of one another.
This will encourage all to be serious about their own Advance Directives
and to consider carefully how they will participate in the deaths of others.


    Because irrational suicide is often impulsive and capricious,
the very process of preparing an Advance Directive for Medical Care
will help the patient who is inclined toward killing himself
to consider carefully all of the alternative pathways towards death.
He or she will consider the settled values that are worth preserving
as well as the burdens of life that sometimes make is easy to say,
"Stop the world, I want to get off!"

    When an Advance Directive explicitly defines in writing
the patient's ideal pathway towards death,
then relatives who want to get rid of the patient
will not be able to rationalize their own harmful aims
by saying that the patient wanted to die anyway.
An Advance Directive prevents premature death
by stating as fully as possible beforehand
under what circumstances the patient would want to live
and under what conditions death would be a better choice.

    Also an Advance Directive will select the best proxies
those persons who are best able to carry forward the patient's decisions.
And any relatives whose motives might be suspect will be excluded
from the decision-making process by not being selected as proxies.
Thus the death chosen will be at the best time and by the best means
—selected by the patient, not by someone who might have different values.

    And if the proxies and others write their own supportive statements,
such involvement will help to ensure wise end-of-life decisions.
These significant others will be attuned to the moods of the patient.
And if this patient has any suicidal tendencies,
any irrational urges to kill himself or herself will likely be noticed
by the family members who are discussing
which conditions would lead to the decision to continue living
and which conditions would lead the patient to choose death.
And if there is any danger of irrational suicide,
these close family members and friends can do their best
to discourage the patient from killing himself or herself.
An irrational suicide is harmful to the patient,
even if the patient wanted to die at that moment.
And an irrational suicide will seem tragic and regrettable
to all family and friends who go on living.

    This circle of people will be discussing
the ideal pathway towards death as selected by the patient.
When they agree on the appropriate time and place for death,
they will also be acknowledging other times and places
where the death would be inappropriate and premature.
Sometimes the close family members will be best able to uncover
death-planning that would lead to a premature death
before it would really be best for the patient.
When others participate in planning for death,
a wiser decision is likely to emerge: not too soon and not too late.
The people who are closest to the patient
can help the patient select the best date of death.

created January 17, 2007; revised 1-26-2008;
2-5-2010; 5-9-2010; 9-9-2010
; 5-21-2011; 12-14-2011;
expanded to include statements from others,
which used to be a separate safeguard SG-AD-SP 1-4-2012;
1-28-2012; 2-22-2012: 3-22-2012; 8-1-2012; 8-19-2012; 11-14-2012;
5-22-2013; 6-26-2013; 7-23-2014; 5-6-2015; 1-7-2016; 11-22-2017; 10-18-2018; 

Creating an Advance Directive for Medical Care is Safeguard A for
How to Die: Safeguards for Life-Ending Decisions.

If such planning for death appeals to you,
perhaps you would like to join a Facebook Seminar
to discuss this and several other safeguards, one by one. 

Here is the complete description of the seminar:

And here is the direct link to our Facebook Group:
Safeguards for Life-Ending Decisions:

For more information about Advance Directives,
visit this portal.

Go to the Catalog of Safeguards for Life-Ending Decisions

Go to the list of 26 recommended safeguards.

Go to the index page for the Safeguards Website.

Go to the Right-to-Die Portal.

Go to the beginning of this website
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