If you are caring for a disabled or aging loved one, you are likely anticipating a medical crisis to eventually happen: The dreaded call from a neighbor or hospital; a late night call from your loved one; coming home from work to find your loved one on the floor!
Many of us think we’re prepared, but are we?
You have likely completed an advance directive, had some cursory talks about end-of-life care, and feel pretty confident in your ability to handle the emergency. Or maybe you know that you are ill-prepared for the future but feel too overwhelmed to plan. Let’s take a quick quiz.
Can you answer these questions?
Where is your loved one’s advance directive?
What are his/her doctors’ names?
Can you list all medications and drug allergies?
What are his/her major medical problems?
What is your loved one’s surgical history?
Where are the insurance cards and policies kept (including health, life, and long-term care insurance)?
Would he/she want a feeding tube, ventilator, CPR, etc.?
How does your loved one feel about life-sustaining treatment?
How does he/she feel about quality of life vs. quantity of life?
Is Aging In Place important to your loved one? Or is community living an option?
Maybe we can never fully be prepared for a medical crisis, but being able to answer these 10 questions can help you immensely. As you navigate through a healthcare crisis, you will interact with providers and experts that can help you and your loved one. They have to be able to make good assessments, and they will rely on you providing them with accurate, complete information.
Where do you start?
Last week’s blog covered “How to Talk to Your Loved Ones about End-of-Life Wishes.” There was some great information packed in that blog about how to start the conversation as well as resources. Start by reading (or re-reading) that blog, and then start asking your loved ones questions.
Should you hire an expert?
You can always reach out to a professional (e.g., an elder law attorney, geriatric social worker, or geriatric care manager) to facilitate these discussions and to help create a plan. Often, the presence of a neutral, knowledgeable professional can defuse worries and eliminate barriers. If your loved one is not willing to talk to you, they might talk to a professional. Many adult children have been surprised by their parents’ openness and agreeability when working with our team.
We have helped many families navigate these crises. Many of them had no plan, and their journey was so much harder. We are passionate about helping families plan for the unknown. If you have any questions or concerns about advance care planning, please contact our office through our website or by calling us at (404) 843-0121.