Being faced with the prospect of deciding when to allow a parent to die is one of the most difficult situations a child can be in. Facing these types of scenarios is never easy, and there is no single solution that will make it any easier. End-of-life care decisions, even when guided by advanced medical directives, are something you will have to take one step at a time.
Get the medical information.
You can’t make a good decision without knowing all the facts, and speaking to your parent’s doctor is absolutely important. You will want to ask about the chances of recovery as well as what kind of quality of life your parent can expect to have if he or she recovers.
Go over medical directives.
If you are lucky enough to have a parent who has left behind an advance medical directive, such as a living will, you will want to review these closely so you can know what your parent would have wanted if he or she could still communicate.
Review these documents, paying special attention to the type of care desired when there is no meaningful chance of recovery. If you are unclear about what these words mean, you may want to discuss it with the doctor as well as other family members.
The decisions you make when deciding to let a parent die will be something you will have to live with for the rest of your life. It’s always best to speak about these issues with close family members. Even if you are already fairly certain of your choice, discussing it will be something that will likely help everyone cope with the difficult situation