As we age, it is likely that we will begin to need care to get through our daily lives. Everyday activities and tasks that once seemed simple enough to do, such as bathing or toileting, can become increasingly difficult as seniors become older. It is important for you to anticipate these difficulties in your day-to-day life and consider the arrangements you can make at home to help.
For some seniors, changes come on suddenly because of a decline in their medical condition, falls, surgeries, or other hospitalizations, so decisions should be made to allow for objective, well thought out strategies. Without plans already in place, figuring out care and other logistics for elderly individuals when they need it the most can be difficult and stressful.
Ideally, seniors should have advanced care plans in place for various possible scenarios as advanced care planning can help make life easier not only for the affected senior, but also for any relatives and loved ones involved with coordinating care and other matters.
Continue reading to learn more about advanced care planning and how it can be beneficial for your elderly relatives.
What is Advanced Care Planning?
Advanced care planning refers to the various plans and decisions made ahead of time in regard to future care preferences. Such decisions can include ventilator use and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) among others. Within advanced care planning, any decisions made are physically documented as an advance directive. The advance directives are then used if the person it refers to cannot communicate their own desires or has become incapacitated.
For example, a person may suffer a serious injury or be diagnosed with a debilitating disease that leaves them unable to express their own wants. In this type of situation, the individual’s advance directives will be used to determine the next course of action. This may mention whether the individual permits the use of CPR, or a ventilator should it be useful.
Oftentimes, advanced care planning is done for elderly individuals, but it can be conducted for people of any age.
Changes to advance directives should be made when a significant life change has occurred. For example, when there is a change in the senior’s health condition, their advance directives should be amended to make sure it still reflects their wishes. This is also why advance directives should be reviewed at least every few years.
What are the Types of Advance Directives?
There are various advance directives, but a living will and a health care proxy are the two primary types.
Living wills are written legal documents that are used for end-of-life situations. They detail the person’s life-prolonging desires as well as when life-prolonging actions should cease. This can include medical interventions such as resuscitation, ventilator use, organ donation, and others.
Health care proxies refer to the person put in charge of care decisions should the individual be unable to express their own desires. The proxy is usually a relative or close friend trusted to make medical decisions on their behalf. The decisions a proxy may need to make include treatment choices and anything that is not mentioned in the living will.
Figuring Out Advance Care Planning
If your elderly loved one has yet to conduct advance care planning, you should take the time to discuss the process with them. Such conversations between doctors and patients regarding advance care planning is covered under Medicare when done in tandem with an annual checkup. If seniors do have a plan in place, then you should sit down with your elderly relative and their doctor to review their plan to make sure it is updated.
Among the things seniors should consider when discussing advance care planning include locations to receive care, which people can be trusted to make medical decisions on their behalf, desires for treatments and medications, and more.
Professional In-Home Care Services from Assisting Hands
Before elderly individuals ever need to utilize their advance directives, they may still require some form of non-medical care. Sometimes, seniors will resolve this need by moving into an assisted living facility of some sort where there will always be professionals around to help. However, many seniors now prefer to age in place and receive care within the comfort of their own home.
Assisting Hands Home Care can help through the professional in-home care services we provide in North and Central Palm Beach County, FL. We employ professional, compassionate caregivers who specialize in senior care services, so you can trust that your elderly loved one will have the help they need to lead safe, healthy lives as they age at home.
Within these elderly care services, we can help seniors with personal care tasks, such as dressing, toileting, and bathing, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, and more. Our caregivers can even provide transportation to medical appointments, shopping, and so much more!
Whatever your elderly loved one’s care needs may be, we, at Assisting Hands, will cater our senior care services to specifically cover unique care needs. This ensures that seniors are guaranteed to get the help they need from our in-home care services.