End of life care is a sensitive topic and can be heavy to discuss. However, starting the conversation with your senior now will help to give peace of mind to you, to them, and to the entire family. Even though it can be difficult, end of life care planning is meant to help honor your senior’s wishes, if and when the time comes that they are not able to communicate their wants and needs. Being able to plan early is an important step in ensuring both your senior’s dignity and satisfaction later in life.
Talk About It
Often times, the hardest part of end of life care planning is just starting the conversation with your senior. This is only natural, since we don’t typically like to think about death or dying. But still, these discussions are necessary to have now in order to eliminate issues that could arise at a later date if your senior is unable to speak for themselves. And if this time does approach, you and your family will be able to focus on spending quality time with your senior without having the burden of planning on your mind.
Put Everything in Writing
Once you’ve had the discussion(s), the next step is putting it into writing. Living will and advanced directives can help decide difficult healthcare choices. An advanced directive is meant to tell healthcare providers about the care your senior wants should they be unable to communicate. A living will is just one piece of an advanced directive that will convey your senior’s wishes about medical treatments and what should or should not be done. Establishing these documents now will allow your senior to express their wishes will greatly improve the quality of their end of life care. We suggest you consult with a lawyer to establish an advanced directive.
Putting off the conversation about end of life care planning is an easy thing to do, especially because it’s natural to avoid talking about death, or we may even feel immune to it. This is certainly true for seniors in North America: 54% of seniors have put off planning because they were in good health, and another 48% said they trust their family members to handle their arrangements. But we highly recommend not waiting too long to start planning for end of life care. If you have this discussion now, you will help both family members and caregivers (if your senior has in home care) to organize end of life care more efficiently.
We know end of life care is hard to think about. Please do not hesitate to contact Home Care Assistance for help or for a consultation.