Anticipating life’s twists and turns can be virtually impossible. We plan as best we can. We buy insurance, we save money for the future, and we do our best to stay healthy. But one thing many people fail to do is work on advance care planning. The possibility of ending up sick or injured so badly that we can’t determine our medical treatment is unthinkable. Although medical professionals have widely supported advance care planning for half a century, only one-third of American adults and 46 percent of American seniors currently have an advance directive in place. That means that more than half of seniors today are unprepared for major major healthcare decisions.
Ignoring the possibility of a life-altering medical issue doesn’t make one less likely. Arguably the only thing worse than being unable to communicate your medical wishes is having that decision placed in the hands of your emotionally-compromised loved ones without any plan in place. This results in even more stress and suffering during an already stressful time. It can also result in them not making the best decisions about your healthcare.
National Healthcare Decisions Day seeks to educate people about the importance of advance care planning. As uncomfortable as it is to contemplate a serious medical crisis, having a plan in place means that if the worst should happen, you know that you’ll get the treatment you want whether or not you’re able to request it.
Advance Care Planning Is Important
Advance care planning involves more than making a plan for loved ones acting on your behalf in a crisis. It also means creating a plan for yourself, for situations where you are conscious and able to make decisions about your healthcare. This might seem a little redundant. After all, if you’re able to communicate a decision in the moment, isn’t that the best time to consider the options? But of course, it’s rarely that easy. When a choice has life-altering consequences, it’s hard to make an objective and informed decision while also dealing with the emotional impact.
It’s essential to make a plan for yourself as well as your loved ones. If you have a preexisting condition, a family history of genetic illness, or risk factors for a particular disease, it’s wise to consider all your options. Preventative care is an integral part of any healthcare regimen, but advance care planning is the logical next step.
You will also want to have an advance directive in place. In other words, you’ll create a legal document in which you’ve communicated your end-of-life wishes, your living will, and healthcare power of attorney. This provides a way forward for your doctors and loved ones if you cannot make healthcare decisions yourself. While this might be an uncomfortable process, it’s better to be prepared.
How to Plan For Healthcare Decisions
Start by getting information on the types of care available for your condition. Educate yourself on the success rates of different medical treatments, information on what your insurance will cover, and the known side effects. Once you know what you might be up against, you can try to plan for what treatments you would or would not wish to receive.
Talking to your loved ones is a crucial step in advance planning. It’s never an easy conversation. But being open and honest about what you want from your healthcare ultimately ensures better outcomes for everyone involved. Your loved ones may have questions and concerns that will help them act on your behalf. By making your desires clear, you’ll be giving them the peace of mind that they’re carrying out your wishes even when you can’t reassure them in person.
Caregivers Bolster Your Support Network
Dealing with the emotional strain of advance care planning can be a difficult task to bear alone. An in-home caregiver can provide emotional support as you navigate the difficult task of advance care planning. Caregivers can encourage you through the research process and help connect you with the resources you need to feel confident in your care plan for the future. You won’t have to worry about getting to doctor’s appointments or meeting up with families when you have a caregiver to help with transportation.
Considering the worst-case scenario is an important part of advance care planning. But at the end of the day, life is about more than just fixating on the negatives. We all have to make the most of the time we have. Whether you’re looking for help around the house or a companion to keep you company, an in-home caregiver can help you face all the future has in store with confidence.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.