May 31 2013

The Good [End of] Life

When we were classmates over 25 years ago, neither Judy nor I imagined our lives would converge on this topic…  But then again, that's the magic of life right?  It just happens - mostly when you're not expecting it!  Judy told her story a few weeks ago in a TedTalk and we're so proud of her and how many people are taking notice.  We went live last year with and are equally jazzed to have consumers enrolling in, as of this writing, 47 states and 28 countries. It is just awesome to see people taking charge of their lives!

Judy's encourages us with 5 action items:

1. Make a plan: If you had an emergency today or a serious illness, would any doctor know anything about you?  You wouldn’t hop in a cab and not give the driver directions, right?

2. Recruit advocates: Who's authorized to make decisions for you if you're in an emergency and can't communicate?

3. Be hospital-ready: Having a plan isn’t any good if it's in a safe deposit box or nobody can find the key. That's why we created a wallet card that connects each hospital and first responder to our secure database so they can find your directive. One less thing for you to worry about in a difficult time.

4. Choose a place and caregivers:  Some of us get to ease into changing lifestyles when we might need extra help… some of us have the shock of a post-accident disability. Deciding whether or not to stay at home or move to an assisted-living facility will greatly impact your, and your loved one's, quality of life.

5. Discuss last words:  What if you couldn't say anything to your friends and family ever again?  It happens more often than you think. That's why we let you post messages, documents, photos even.

And then there's the most important message of all: this is NOT just for the elderly, frail and sick. If we teach our kids through scouting to "be prepared" than we should lead by example and every adult over the age of 18, should have a digital directive ASAP. Of course we never want it to be needed, but Judy and I would be so happy to know we helped you, your family and loved friends in the event it were!


Judy MacDonald Johnston Ted Talk

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Dec 23 2015


  1. Gigi Johnson posted at Jun 3 2013 04:07 PM
    May I add one more? I happily know both Jeff and Judy, so this makes me smile. After the past weekend with my husband's aunt, we have another suggested step -- share your OWN planning with them. She is 70 and trying to have this conversation with her 75-year-old sister. I asked if she had shared with her and with us everywhere she would like to be (e.g., long-term care, hospital, etc.). She had worked on her own documents, but hadn't shared with us her favorite long-term care, etc. Being willing to speak yourself helps others gain comfort and empowerment as well.

    Best to you all in your own dreaming and planning for graceful futures.
  2. Eileen posted at Jun 13 2013 06:24 AM
    It's about time people stopped being afraid of addressing what every one of us will be facing at one time or another. The key is many won't know when ... My Directives allows us to take care of what's necessary, what we want, to give us (and our friends/families) peace of mind when our time on this planet comes to an end. And, we don't have to wait until we are sick or injured ... great to take care of ourselves in this way when we are well.

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