As a geriatric nurse for over 25 years, I witnessed many individuals and families facing end-of-life decisions. Frequently, they were unprepared. Often this led to prolonged suffering for the loved one and major distress for the family. Now in my late 80s, I am very aware of the importance of having control over this part of my life. As they age, many people spend the last year of their life in and out of hospitals, undergoing treatments that extend their days but do not enhance their quality of life.

I certainly want to have options for how I live my last months, weeks and days. Being a member of the national organization Compassion and Choices, whose focus is end-of-life planning, has enabled me to make my wishes known to my family — in conversation and in writing. Making your wishes known is truly a gift to yourself as well as those who love you.

I urge you to take the time now to view your options. Compassion and Choices provides a free and comprehensive guide to your end-of-life planning that is available online at

Nora Natof
Oak Park

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