Understanding Your Loved One’s Wishes When Planning For Long-Term Care

Posted by Machelle Thompson on Jul 2, 2015 8:42:00 AM

understanding-loved-one-wishes-long-term-careIn order to ensure your aging loved one’s long-term care plan is carried out with as little disruption as possible, it is important to make certain preparations before you both transition to a new senior care service.

Selecting a geriatric care service should not be a hurried decision. Whether you choose at-home care or a facility-based elderly care option, arrangements must be made for an advanced directive, which outlines how your senior envisions their care. You should also speak with your loved one about the aging process first so an advanced directive does not come as a surprise.

These preparations are an instrumental part of your aging senior’s long-term care plan that may influence the elderly care service you decide upon. Learn more about understanding your loved one’s view on aging and how to establish an advanced directive.

Have A Conversation About Aging With Your Loved One

Speaking openly about the process of aging and the potential changes it may have on your family members’ lives provides peace of mind for everyone involved. Your conversation with your loved one should include the following people:

  • Your senior’s spouse
  • Children and grandchildren
  • Brothers and sisters
  • Other family members
  • Your senior’s support network

Many aging adults feel an enormous sense of relief when they know their affairs are in order and their support team is knowledgeable of their wishes and plans.

Additionally, conversations about aging and advanced planning reduce the burden on you and your senior’s support network when a time of need arises. While your loved one may feel uncomfortable initiating a conversation about aging, assure them they are able to confide in you.

Establish An Advanced Directive For Healthcare

An advanced directive is a document that provides direction to your senior’s agent for healthcare decisions. This form outlines an aging adult’s wishes for care under various circumstances and should be incorporated as an element of long-term care.

Another option is to complete a Physician’s Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form with a physician, rather than completing an advanced directive. This document provides the same information as an advanced care directive.

In order to obtain a POLST form, speak with your senior’s physician. He or she should have the forms available in their office. If the form is not available with your physician, you should download a copy [Link to: http://www.capolst.org/] from the POLST website.

Once you and your loved one have completed the form, most physicians scan a copy into their electronic health record so it is available for emergency personnel. It’s also a good idea to tape a copy to your loved one’s refrigerator, and each POA should carry a copy.

Planning For Long-Term Care According To Your Senior’s Wishes

By speaking with your loved one about aging and learning about their wishes for care through an advanced directive, you gain a better understanding about how they envision their future. As such, you are able to plan for their long-term care with greater empathy.

You and your aging senior should consider advanced home care as the best elderly care option if you determine your senior prefers an independent lifestyle. If you have further questions about at-home care or other long-term care possibilities, consult a knowledgeable Geriatric Care Manager.

Ready to learn more about planning for your loved one’s elder care? Get the information you need on estate planning and more with the long-term care checklist.

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