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Knowing what’s on your bucket list can help you prioritize. Sharing it with your doctor can help the two of you make better treatment decisions.

A February 2018 article in the Journal of Palliative Medicine* found that 91.2% of survey participants have at least mental bucket lists. Here is what they said they want to do.

What’s on your bucket list?

  • 78.5% travel
  • 78.3% accomplish a personal goal
  • 51% achieve a specific life milestone
  • 24.3% achieve financial stability
  • 16.7% spend quality time with friends and family
  • 15.0% do a daring activity

It is commonly observed that no one on his deathbed says that he wished he had spent more time at the office. Similarly, few people seem to want to take up skydiving in their 80s. But we do seem to have spent about enough time with others, even if we want to provide for them after we are gone. Most of us have something personal to get done, whether it is achieving a goal or seeing more of the world before we leave it.

Clearly stating what your goals are may help you achieve them and help your physician remind you how much longer you are likely to be in shape to do so.

*S. Periyakoil Vyjeyanthi, Eric Neri and Helena Kraemer, “Common Items on a Bucket List,” Journal of Palliative Medicine, February 2018.

Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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