Every time I turn on the TV I see a commercial for yet another thing I need to be concerned about as I age. Wrinkles, weight gain, memory loss, chaotic hormones and even thinning eyelashes (not to mention the distressing advertising regarding my husband’s potential to develop erectile dysfunction) Holy Crap!
What I don’t see are commercials for things that we REALLY need to be concerned about as we age – having a written plan for future care if we are no longer able to make decisions for ourselves.
Advanced Directives such as health-care and financial power of attorney’s (POA’s) are two crucial documents that anyone over the age of 25 should create and update regularly. In addition, take time to create a written “plan of action” for your family to follow. POA’s are designated to make decisions for you if you are unable, however; most of us do not follow-up with writing out exactly what decisions we would like the appointed surrogates to make in certain situations.
Here are some points to ponder when writing out your plan:
- Who would I like notified if I am in the hospital? (friends, family, clergy)
- What life extending treatments would I want/not want? (ventilator, feeding tube)
- How do I want people to treat me? (people around/not around, holding my hand, saying prayers, certain music playing)
- Help for family – making it clear that you would/ would not want your family to be your primary caregivers if your care got overwhelming (skilled nursing placement to relieve family from burden of physical care)
These are just a few ideas to help you begin the thought process needed to start creating your future care plan. A great tool that I recommend to help you is called 5 Wishes. You can download a copy at http://www.agingwithdignity.org/forms/5wishes.pdf.
Be empowered today to start creating your plan. Then share it with those you love so that they are all clear on what your wishes are so that everyone is on the same page.