Approaching end-of-life discussions with a senior loved one is never easy, but it can be made even harder if the family member broaching the conversation isn’t well informed. This is often the case with murky subjects like advance directives and living wills. Today, we’ll briefly cover the basics of both to help family caregivers have an easier time starting those important discussions.
Planning for your loved one’s future should also include considerations about his or her ability to continue aging in place. Living alone at home in the golden years can present a few unique challenges. Trust home care service professionals to help your senior loved one maintain a higher quality of life while he or she lives with an illness and performs the daily tasks of living.
An advance directive is a written legal document spelling out a person’s preferences for medical care in the event he or she is incapacitated and unable to make these decisions independently. It’s important for all adults to prepare these documents, but it’s particularly crucial for seniors and those who have serious medical issues. Though it can be difficult to discuss end-of-life decisions with your loved one, having his or her wishes in writing will help family members avoid disagreements, arguments, and unnecessary stress over making these decisions on your loved one’s behalf later on.
Another type of advance directive, a medical power of attorney, lists who can make medical decisions on a person’s behalf if he or she is unable to do so. This person, typically a family member, should be a trusted advocate with whom your loved one has discussed his or her end-of-life wishes.
It’s especially important for seniors to have advance directives if they’re living with serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or another form of age-related dementia. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Tucson families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.
Although living wills and advance directives are often thought of as separate entities, a living will is simply a specific type of advance directive. Living wills specifically list the medical treatments a person wants and doesn’t want to keep him or her alive. Some examples include resuscitation, medical ventilation, tube feeding, and dialysis. A “do not resuscitate” or “do not intubate” order can also be a separate advance directive even if a person doesn’t have a living will.
It can be very difficult to discuss such sensitive topics. One way to make it a little easier is to avoid making it about death and instead focus on your loved one’s values and wishes. When these are put in writing, it will allow the family to come together rather than be divided by debating about what your loved one would have wanted. Your parent’s doctor can also be part of an informed discussion, and you’ll need to involve an attorney who specializes in elder law to ensure the legality of the documents.
It’s also essential to determine your loved one’s preferences for continuing to live at home or moving to an assisted living facility as he or she gets older. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to assisted living facilities. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Tucson elder care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at (520) 276-6555 today.