Have the Conversation Today

Posted on

Feb 26, 2018

Share This
It always seems too early, until its too late.
Its an all-too-common refrain from loved ones who waited too long to have conversations about end-of-life care preferences.
I, myself, live with regret of a decision made with my husband as he neared the end of his life.
We followed the expert recommendations of his care team to move him from home to inpatient hospice care, but he and I both knew he wished to die at home. When the decision had to be made, he was so close to death that we couldnt have the conversation with his family.
Eleven years later, I still wonder: What if?

Today not tomorrow we all should consider if our wishes are known by those who will speak for us when we near death.

Advance care planning is not just about old age. At any age, a medical crisis could leave you too ill to make your own health care decisions.

Even if you are not sick now, making health care plans for the future is an important step toward making sure you get the medical care you would want. It guides doctors and family members in making the decisions for you.

Have the conversation today with your loved ones. At the end of any advance care planning conversation, you should have these five wishes clearly understood by your family:

1. Who do you want to represent you when you cant make health care decisions for yourself due to your medical or mental condition?

2. What extreme measures do you wish to have taken to prolong your life if death seems imminent? This includes CPR, life support and pain management.

3. How comfortable do you wish to be when you are near death?

4. How do you want people to treat you? Do you wish to die at home?

5. How you will share your stories with those you love, and what do you want your family to do for arrangements once you die?

Here is what you can do today to plan for your health horizon:
? Gather resources. Find conversation starters, issues to consider and instructions for completing advance directives at WellSpan.org/HorizonPlanning.
? Start with yourself: What are your own health care decisions? Consider what will be important as you near death.
? Involve loved ones: Mutually share your wishes. Have many conversations as life and health changes.
? Readiness: Give your advance care plans to your physician/hospital so your wishes can be known and honored.

Everyone has a health horizon. You should plan for it. You and your family will be glad you did.

To learn more about WellSpans Horizon Planning, visit WellSpan.org/HorizonPlanning.

_______________________________
Editors Note: This article was submitted by Roberta Geidner, Horizon Planning Coordinator at WellSpan Health.

Other Articles You May Like

Maximizing Medicaid: How Asset Protection Plans Can Help You Save Money on Long-Term Care

Medicaid is a government program that provides health coverage to individuals, and it is the leading payor of skilled nursing facility care in the United States due to the high cost of such care. Many people mistakenly believe that Medicaid is only for those with minimal resources, but an asset protection plan can help you protect your assets and still qualify for long-term Medicaid benefits.Asset protection planning uses exemptions that allow you to keep some of your assets. For example, in Pennsylvania, you are allowed to keep $45 of your income per month plus any amount you use to pay for health insurance; the rest of your income must be used to pay for your care. When applying for Medicaid, countable resources include assets such as real estate, cash, investment accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance with a face value greater than $1,500, vehicles, and any business interests. However, you can exempt the house you live in, one vehicle, and your spouse can retain their retirement accounts and anywhere between $29,724 and $148,620 of the joint assets, depending upon the total amount of your combined assets. Anything over this calculated amount of exemptions could be put into an asset protection trust and protected from skilled nursing facility costs.An asset protection plan will allow you to immediately protect a portion of your assets, in addition to the assets that are exempt from Medicaid, for significant immediate savings that begin the moment your plan is fully funded.An asset protection plan consists of an asset protection trust, in which you can control the assets, but cant have direct access to them. Giving up direct access to the assets in the trust keeps creditors and predators away. If you do need access to an asset in the trust, you always have the ability to make distributions to someone other than yourself.Asset protection plans not only protect your assets during life but also provide tremendous value for your loved ones when youre gone.Laws and statutes in the area of long-term care Medicaid are always changing, so its highly recommended to review your options with a local elder law/estate planning attorney. At Bellomo & Associates, we can help you learn more about asset protection plans and how they can benefit you and your family while protecting your legacy from the rapidly rising cost of long-term care. Dont wait lets get your estate plan in place!Are you ready to start protecting your assets and planning for long-term care? Contact Bellomo & Associates today to register for an educational workshop. We can help you create a customized asset protection plan and provide guidance on long-term care Medicaid eligibility and planning. Dont wait until its too latetake action now and secure your financial future.  

A Call to Order Professional Organizer in the realm of Senior Move Management

Seniors gliding into their new chapter with all the grace of synchronized swans, thanks to the expert guidance of A Call to Order Professional Organizer in the realm of Senior Move Management. It's like watching a beautifully choreographed ballet but with boxes instead of ballerinas.With the finesse of a conductor leading a symphony, this service orchestrates a seamless transition, acknowledging the unique hurdles seniors face during such life changes. A Call to Order is all about that perfect harmony blending organizational wizardry with a warm, supportive touch.They're not just about packing boxes; they're curators of calm, working hand-in-hand with seniors and their families to craft a plan tailored to their needs. From sorting knick-knacks to scheduling movers, every step is a graceful dance towards a stress-free and serene move.And let's not forget their knack for honoring sentimental treasures because it's not just about moving stuff; it's about moving hearts.For a move that hits all the right notes, seniors should tune into these tips: kick things off with some good old-fashioned communication, embrace the art of decluttering like Marie Kondo's long-lost protege, and above all, trust in the maestros at A Call to Order Professional Organizer to conduct a symphony of smooth sailing.With these tips in their back pocket, seniors can waltz into their new abode with the confidence of a well-practiced dancer, knowing that A Call to Order has orchestrated a move worthy of a standing ovation.

How to Prevent Family Conflict Over Aging Parents

How to Prevent Family Conflict Over Aging ParentsWhen it comes to aging parents, certain topics are often at the forefront of the conversation senior living, health care, and financial planning, to name a few. However, there is one topic that is very common but not as openly discussed: family conflict. This type of conflict usually occurs among adult children as their parents or family members go through the aging process. Disputes can also occur between parents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, or others. Disagreements often stem from the stress, sadness, denial, anger, or uncertainty people often feel when their loved ones start to need help.Family conflict over aging loved ones is especially prevalent in the state of Florida, which has such a large senior population. In fact, family conflict became such an issue that the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts launched the Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination. This dispute resolution process was specifically created for families experiencing conflict over the care, autonomy and safety of Florida seniors.Clearly, family conflict over aging loved ones is a real issue that impacts seniors. While it is not uncommon, it can be prevented with the proper preparation, communication, knowledge, and guidance.This article will cover several aging-related topics that can lead to family conflicts, and how to best solve or prevent these issues. After all, the best outcomes for seniors occur when there is harmony and teamwork among their adult children. Situations that Can Lead to Family ConflictProblem: Uneven balance of caregiving responsibilitiesAdult children of seniors often have to handle many matters related to their aging parents. These can include taking on the role of a family caregiver, accompanying parents to medical appointments, making healthcare decisions, managing finances, driving them to all their obligations, managing their nutritional needs, performing household maintenance and chores, and many other duties.When multiple adult children are involved, it is natural for one child to take on more of the caregiving load than the others. This is often the case when one child lives much closer to their parents than the others.But when these duties are not evenly distributed among the children, some start to develop feelings of anger or bitterness toward their siblings.Solution: When feelings of bitterness and resentment start to develop, have a civil discussion with your siblings about the issue. Rather than being accusatory, try to make a plan to solve the problem. Write out all the responsibilities required for taking care of your aging parents, and specifically delegate each duty to certain people. Make sure everyone is on board with the agreement and is assigned a role that is achievable for them. Keep the list somewhere everyone can access it, whether it be a printed copy for each family member, or even a shared Google Doc. Plan to have frequent check-in meetings to make sure everyone is doing their part and discuss any concerns that have arisen.For example, one child who lives nearby can be in charge of driving their parents to appointments, while another child who lives farther away can take on the role of managing their finances. Or, if one person is unable to physically help, perhaps they would be willing to contribute financially to help make the other childrens roles a little easier whether that be by paying for respite care, a geriatric care manager, hospice care, or another service. Problem: One sibling is being excluded from the decision-makingSometimes, one child will take over most of the decision-making for their senior parents, causing the other siblings to feel as though they are being left in the dark about these important issues. Solution: In these situations, communication is key. In a calm manner, tell your sibling how you are feeling. It could be that they are simply unaware of their actions. Or, they might have thought they were making their siblings lives easier by not involving them. Explain your point of view and that you want to be more involved in matters relating to your aging parents. From there, you can work together to make an arrangement that you are included in.Problem: Disagreements about the amount of care neededFor some people, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that their parents needs and abilities are changing. This can lead to denial or avoidance of the situation which is not only harmful for the seniors, but can also cause disagreements between adult children.In other situations, some adult children may believe their parents are able to safely age in place in their own home, while others may think senior living would be the best choice.Solution: Sometimes a professional outside opinion is all it takes for people to come to an agreement about their parents care needs. Consult your parents doctors for a professional report about their health status and changes in ability. It is also wise to contact an expert senior advisor like Florida Senior Consulting to conduct necessary assessments and make professional recommendations for the senior. A senior advisor can also help inform about all the possible options, whether that be in-home care or senior living. Along with involving outside sources, siblings can work together to research the situation at hand. For example, if the seniors are experiencing memory issues like dementia, adult children can research this topic to learn what level of care is often recommended in these situations. This method is always a good place to start and helps everyone be on the same page about their loved ones needs.Problem: Disagreements about end-of-life care and estate planningEstate planning and end-of-life care can be uncomfortable or delicate topics to discuss. Because of their complexity, these matters can often lead to disagreements among adult children.Solution: In these tricky situations, it is often best to leave the decisions up to your parents. If possible, have them choose a power of attorney and set up advance directives like a living will and health care surrogate designation before a crisis occurs. This will prevent any future conflicts that could arise among family members if these designations are not in place.If a crisis occurs and your parents do not have these documents or their estate in order, it is best to contact an elder law attorney, a financial planner that specializes in elder affairs, and possibly a family mediator to help with inheritances. These professionals can help get the situation sorted out without the risk of a conflict developing between family members.Next Steps for Adult Children to Help their Aging ParentsDont let conflicts about your aging parents tear your family apart. In difficult times, it is important for families to come together so the seniors in your life can receive the best care possible. This positive outcome is only achieved when the adult children work together as a team. After all, as Helen Keller once said, Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.If you and your family need guidance on how to best help your aging loved ones, always contact a professional. Florida Senior Consulting will help you every step of the way, from deciding the right plan for care, finding the best assisted living community, packing, moving, and everything in between.Our expert senior advisors are local to Florida and will help you and find the best care possible.Call (800) 969-7176 or visit FloridaSeniorConsulting.com to get started today.Senior living on your terms. The choice should be yours.