Make sure loved ones know your end-of-life wishes

Not long ago, the kids at Philo Road Church of Christ enjoyed baby-chick cupcakes for Easter thanks to the creative work of Kandace Ruth Wascher. She dyed shredded coconut bright yellow, used chocolate chips for eyes and trimmed orange jelly beans into feet to complete the festive treats.

Wascher relies on her church family in many ways. They recently supported one another as they took the steps necessary to make their end-of-life wishes known.

“You never know what could happen. A meteor could fall out to the sky. I hope not,” Wascher said.

Community members and healthcare professionals can learn about end-of-life wishes at a two-part event Saturday, April 16 at The Forum at Carle in Urbana. From 7:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., the My Life. My Health. My Voice. seminar provides a half day of education for $15 about:

  • The Illinois Health Care Surrogate Act
  • Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment and other forms
  • Cultural considerations for advanced directives
  • Guardianship, palliative medicine, CPR realities and more
  • From 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., anyone can receive free assistance with advance directives.

“Advance directives give people a voice when they are unable to speak for themselves because of an injury or illness,” Carle social worker and event organizer Natalie Pankau said. “Advance directives can ease family conflict by allowing us, as healthcare providers, to know and honor their wishes.”

During the afternoon part of the event, Carle social workers, chaplains and nurses will meet one-on-one to discuss and help attendees complete Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Wills. Also for no charge, volunteer attorneys from Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation will help those interested with Financial Power of Attorney forms.

Completing advance directives with Pankau was a relief for Wascher, to say the least.

“It felt really good,” she said. “I don’t like to think about dying, but I want to be cremated and buried with my brother.”