People over the age of 50 commonly begin thinking of the end of life.
There are many directions and options to take based on experiences with family or friends.
Though your thoughts and circumstances may change over the years, now is the time to discuss with your adult children feelings and preparations previously made. It is best to think ahead and preplan. Keep your loved ones informed.
Creating the Atmosphere to Talk
Talking about unpleasant possibilities in life is something most families avoid. The best approach to minimizing stress is to have a family conversation.. Here are several ideas to help.
Schedule a family time to go over a living will
Introduce your thoughts into a conversation about a friend or family member going through end-of-life issues
Watch a movie or show portraying your sentiments to open a conversation
Introduce an article addressing some of your concerns
Invite an unbiased professional to help mediate your concerns with your family
Group discussions should be as relaxed as possible, allowing people to freely express their emotions. Focus on the positive side to benefit of the family as a whole.
Do the Footwork
Before calling a meeting to do the research. Living wills, health care and other legalities vary from state to state. These forms are best done in conjunction with a lawyer but may also be found online or in the local library.
Hospitals have state-acceptable living will forms on location and need to be notarized when completed.
Research the requirements and costs for assisted living, home health and skilled care.
Designate medical power of attorney to one or more of your children.
Provide your doctor with a copy of your living will.
Having these things in order eliminates confusion and frustration amongst family members. You know your finances and comfort levels best. Having these in order early will help ease your mind in the event a tragedy occurs.
Prioritize Your Discussion
Discuss the most practical details first. Legal and financial details of your care are a priority.
Review your living will--this will cover treatment wishes and preferences in the event you cannot voice them yourself.
Who is designated to be your advocate for health and medical care?
How are you preparing to pay for possible future care?
Do you hope to move out or stay at home?
If moving what is most important to you in senior care?
Where will your children find legal papers and health information if needed?
Everyone being on the same page is just as important as the details. Listen to other views and ideas but remember, the objective is to inform and express your wishes.
Other Topics to Consider
Once the standard items are finalized more personal preferences need to be discussed. Write them down and give copies to each party to avoid future misunderstandings.
Are there any family problems?
Are there some milestones you would like to accomplish?
What concerns need to be addressed?
Is spiritual or emotional support important to you? What are your feelings about palliative care and/or hospice?
Throughout life these concerns and desires may change and you may want to rewrite or review these changes with your family. Keeping an open dialogue is not only useful for you but gives future generations a wonderful example.
Keep the Dialogue Open
Though this conversation is important, it shouldn’t be the hot topic of every family get-together. Enjoy life and let your family dwell on being together. Make adjustments as necessary. Establish a standard means to communicate your desires and keep your family informed of changes, such as a group email or scheduling an “update meeting” if major changes are in order.
When considering senior care, take the time to contact the professionals at Bridge to Better Living®. We specialize in a large variety of communities and would be happy to go over the different aspects of care available for the different stages of senior life.