Planning the day of MAiD

"Yes, it’s unique, you have absolute control over the process."


"It was so calm; we had a bottle of Canadian Club before he died. It was so peaceful."


"It made us feel good that we could honor her in this way."


You may not have the energy or interest in planning what the day of your assisted death might look like, or you might know exactly how you want it to be. Usually this is something that is planned with your family and the people closest to you.

Try to be flexible about what happens and be ready to make changes if needed as the day unfolds. You may want to let people know the one or two things that are the most important to you, such as who will be there.

Things to consider

If you are at home, the MAiD team will ask you where you would like to be to receive the medications that will cause your death. Would you like to be in your favourite chair, in your bed, maybe on your deck, or in the garden, weather permitting? It can be helpful to think about this in advance.

Whether you will be at home or in a health facility you might want to ask yourself the following questions or talk them over with your family or others close to you:

  • Is there anything you would like to do or see that day? Favourite food or drink?
  • Is there music you would like to listen to that day?
  • Are there particular photos you would like to have nearby?
  • What would you like to wear? Would you like certain flowers in the room?
  • Where would you like people to be in relation to you? Sitting, holding hands, lying next to you, in or out of sight?
  • Are there pets you would like present and where would you like them?
  • Is there anything you want done just before the medications are given, such as a prayer, smudge, a reading, kiss, hug, a song sung, special music played, a toast. Would you like a spiritual leader or clergy present?
  • Do you want one person to “manage” the day and does that person have a clear idea of what you want?

These are very personal decisions about what is important and meaningful to you. There is no right way to do this, and none of the above may be important to you. It is all about you and what you want.

Be sure to let the MAiD practitioner know what you want so that they can do their best to honour your wishes at the time of your assisted death.

Who will be present

One of the more important decisions to be made is who you would like to be with you when you have an assisted death. Try not to make assumptions about who may or may not want to be there. Let your wishes be known. You may prefer to have only one person or your immediate family. You might like to have a larger group of family and friends in the house, but only a few in the room with you. If you only want one person there, it can be helpful to think about who might be nearby to support them afterward. The important thing is to think about this ahead of time, so that you or someone on your behalf can invite them to be there.

You might be wondering if it is OK to have children or grandchildren present. Every situation is different, but in general, it is best to be open and honest with children about what is happening and give them the choice.

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Choosing a funeral home

The MAiD team may ask you to choose a funeral home so that family or friends or the MAiD practitioner know who to call after the death. The funeral home does not need to know ahead of time, and they do not need to know that it was an assisted death. It is your choice whether to plan beyond this.

For family and friends: what you may be feeling

You may find yourself overcome with the details of the day and wanting it to be exactly as the person wants it to be. Focus on the things that are most important to you and the person. Share tasks. Ask for support when you need it. Try to stay as present as you can.

You may become fixated on the clock and counting down the hours. It is common to experience a roller-coaster of emotions. Even if you fully support the person’s decision, and are grateful they will no longer be suffering, it is natural that you may find yourself wishing for more time with them.

It can be helpful to plan ahead for support for yourself. It may be that your support circle will also present at the death. If this is not the case, consider arranging for them to be nearby. You might want support from them right away, or you might prefer to call them to come be with you sometime later after the death, or plan to meet at another time or location. Again, there is no right or wrong way to do this, but it can be helpful to plan for support immediately or shortly after the death.


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Planning the day of MAiD

Knowing the exact date and time of a loved one’s death

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