The family of Barbara Bush went public with a very private decision Sunday when they announced the former first lady will no longer seek aggressive treatments, but instead opted for “comfort care.”
At 92 years old, Bush has suffered from COPD and congestive heart failure for around two years, according to news reports. After a recent series of hospital stays, she decided it was time to take a different route.
It’s important to note, Mrs. Bush did not give up treatment. She elected a different kind of treatment. She chose a different path – one that focuses on quality of life, not cures.
The family’s decision to make such an announcement is significant. It does not signify hopelessness. It speaks to their belief in a new kind of hope for their matriarch – hope for a better life in the time she has left. They hope for more memories, more love, and more enjoyment of the coming days with their mother and grandmother.
Isn’t that what most people want? When you picture the end of your life, do you picture struggles in and out of the hospital? Or does your picture encompass taking control of your own care, spending more time with those you love most, enjoying life to the fullest and making memories friends and family can hold onto after you’re gone? Which do you think would most benefit your loved ones in the long run?
The announcement hit the news cycles Monday morning, which also happens to be National Healthcare Decisions Day. We don’t know the circumstances behind the decision Mrs. Bush and her family made regarding her care. We hope it wasn’t a last-minute struggle. We hope she and her family had this discussion years ago.
Don’t put off such important decisions as your end-of-life care or that of a loved one until moments of crisis – when the physical and emotional toll of illness is at an all-time high. Make them early, when you have time to really think clearly and plan thoroughly. Death is not an easy subject to broach in your own mind, much less in conversations with your loved ones, but help is available. To learn practical tips on end-of-life care decisions and how to start the conversations with your loved ones and doctor, visit the National Healthcare Decisions Day website, nhdd.org.