Are You in the End Of Life Planning Majority?

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a nice weekend.

Part of Ben’s and my Sunday routine involves sleeping in, having a nice breakfast, and watching CBS Sunday Morning.  This week the show had a special episode called “That’s Life,” which focused on death and dying.

I thought this episode was pretty bold considering most people find talking about death pretty off putting (especially at 9:00am on a Sunday). During the show’s opening Ben said, “I’m not sure I want to watch this.” And halfway through he decided to go read in the other room.

I, on the other hand, was eager to watch the show. I know how critical the death discussion can be having dealt with it a lot personally and professionally.

Despite the need to get ready for death, the episode gave some eye-opening polling numbers on how many people don’t prepare for it:

  • 54% of Americans say they don’t spend much time, or any time, thinking about their own death. 14% say they spend a lot of time thinking about it. 31% spend some time thinking about it.
  • 60% of Americans don’t have a will. And just 22% of those ages 18-49 say they have one. The number rises to 62% of those who are 50 years or older.
  • While most people don’t have a will, 58% have made medical directives and expressed what kind of medical care they want if they are too sick to say so. However, age is a factor here too: 75% of Americans over age 65 have made clear their medical wishes, compared to 41% under the age 35.
  • Forty-eight percent of those polled want to be cremated, while 42% want to be buried.

I can’t say these stats shock me. But it does make me fear for my friends, family, and anyone else who falls into end of life planning majority.

We all know we are going to die, but the majority of us are unprepared and don’t even want to talk about it

I urge you to take the time to get the basic documents together. Being prepared will not only help your loved ones, but it will also ensure that they can fulfill your wishes.

The more people that we can get to talk about end of life planning, the easier it will become.  My favorite segment of the show highlighted a small town of La Crosse, WI, where 96 percent of the people who have passed away had created advance directives. One man stated:

“It makes sense to me…because I want to have my family know my last wishes and exactly what they need to do, and not have to worry about agonizing over that decision if something happens.”

Properly preparing for death is an act of love that we should all show our friends and family.