Page 7 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - June 2018 - 25-06
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Senior Times - June 2018 Page 7
By: Anne Clark, Eldercare Specialist
“The Conversation.” .... What’s that you might ask? It’s the conversation we need – we all need, anyone 18 and older – to have with those who might be making decisions for us regarding our care, in the event we cannot speak for ourselves. This could be caused by a sudden illness or an accident. The situation of not being able to make your own decision may or may not be permanent; life can change in a minute.
Advanced care planning is really a process and not one that should be done once and then the papers get put away. It is really meant to be revisited especially if there’s a change in your health situation.
It’s talking to those people you’ve named to make decisions for you when you’re not able to make them yourselves. And making sure others who might have an “interest,” like your other children, siblings, spouse... whomever they may be, understand what your decisions are and why you’ve chosen the people you have to make deci- sions. Many times we make the mistake believing others will just know what you want and that’s not typically the case.
I sat with a woman and her two adult children not long ago and it was interesting to hear the dialogue because she really thought they knew what she’d want and boy was she surprised because they really weren’t sure. What was even more difficult, after our conversation, was the realization that her husband probably was not
the best one to make decisions for her because it would be far too difficult for him. But she discov- ered this by discussing situations that could occur and what he might be asked.
Another belief is that you really only need
to be discussing these topics when you’ve been diagnosed with a life threatening disease or that you do it when you’re at the end. WRONG – this
is a topic that really needs to be discussed when you don’t have your emotions running in high gear or when you’re facing a crisis. It takes time and thought, planning for what you would want, and not just in the end. There are situations where you might not be able to speak for yourself right now but down the road that situation can change. Believe me, it’s far easier to think about the care you would want and what you wouldn’t want when you’re healthy, knowing that things can change and your wishes may change as well.
The process to get these documents complete is fairly easy; however, it does take time to make decisions as this isn’t something you want to take lightly and whomever you select needs to accept this responsibility (typically you will name a first, second, and even a third person just in case the person named before them isn’t available). The first step is deciding who you would want to be your Patient Advocate. This should be someone you feel will follow through with your wishes, making sure this about your wishes and not any- body else’s. Your Patient Advocate must be at
least 18 years of age and someone who you feel comfortable having these conversations about your preferences, values, wishes, and goals for medical decision-making for you. Make sure
this is a person who will follow your preferences even if it’s a difficult decision, again you want this decision to be about your wishes and nobody else’s. This is a significant responsibility so be sure the people you chose really understand
their role.
The good news is – we’re here to help. Senior
Health Partners was trained in Advanced Care Planning facilitation in 2016 and have held group meetings, individual meetings and even family meetings. We have all the paperwork needed;
we have some documents to help the Patient Advocate’s understand their role and we have some documentation on different types of inter- ventions (such as CPR, breathing machines, and tube feeding) to aid in making decisions about care that you may or may not want. We will even help with making copies to be sure every health care provider on your team has the copy for their records and also copies for those named as well. This is a free service to you and your family.
Remember it’s important to visit this subject for anybody 18 or over; making sure that you talk about not just end-of-life, but if there was an emergency. Decide ahead of time the care you would, or would not want. These are hard con- versations to have but have proven to be easier when you can make them freely vs. when there is a medical emergency. Keeping in mind this is all about your preferences – what you do and do not want!
You are welcome to call Senior Health Partners at (269) 441-0948 to make an appoint- ment, get the paperwork or even just have a dis- cussion about the process. We encourage you to Start the Conversation today as we never know what tomorrow may bring.
of Peace of Mind
Pick up your registration form at any of the sites identified or download at
The Miles for Memories Help Home program can give you peace of mind.
Do you, or your loved one, experience moments of confusion? Has the fear of a loved one wandering from home caused you to worry?
❤ TheHelpHomePersonalID* program comes with a specially designed, waterproof bracelet.
❤ Allowsforemergencyandmedical information to be stored and accessed by emergency personnel.
❤ Providessupportforthepersonin early stages of dementia to continue to be active.
❤ Allowsfamilytoaccessinformation through a phone app or online.
❤ Bestofall,youdecidehowmuch information to provide.
June 5 Forks Senior Center Albion 11:30am-1pm
June 13 Heritage Commons Senior Center Marshall 12-2pm
June 15 Rock-A-Thon Calhoun County Medical 5-7pm Care Facility
June 16 Rock-A-Thon Calhoun County Medical 10am-12pm Care Facility
June 23 Albion Health & Safety Expo New Fire Station 12-4pm
The Personal I.D. *Bracelets are funded in part by a grant through the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

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