As you grow older, you tend to pay more attention to health care issues, mainly out of necessity. One area of concern for seniors is how you would be cared for if you experienced a life-threatening or terminal medical condition. Seniors living in their own home, in assisted living, in a retirement home or in a nursing home should prepare an advance directive to ensure their wishes are satisfied and to provide peace of mind for their families.
Put it in writing.
An advance directive is a legal document that states personal preferences for medical care prior to the time when you might not be well enough to make those decisions yourself. While reducing confusion about your wishes, written advance directives also lessen the concerns of loved ones during their most stressful moments.
A living will and a health care power of attorney are the two advance directives that most seniors need, according to AARP. Ask your physician or an attorney for these advance directive forms.
A living will is a declaration of life-sustaining medical treatments that you would want and not want to be done. Discuss these options with your physicians as well as close family members and friends. These treatments include resuscitation, ventilation, tube feeding, dialysis, medications and palliative care (decreasing pain and increasing comfort). In addition, you may state whether you would like to donate your organs for transplantation or body for scientific research.
Health care power of attorney
A health care or medical power of attorney is the person whom you identify to make decisions if you were unable to do so. That individual should be someone who is not part of your health care team, can discuss critical medical issues, would make decisions according to your wishes and values, and would advocate for you during any disagreements regarding care.
Talk about it
Establish and encourage clear communications about your wishes with your family, health care power of attorney and physician so that everyone is well aware and informed of your preferences.
At Country Meadows, we always suggest talking with key persons in your life about big decisions, including senior citizen living options—independent living, assisted living, or a Pennsylvania retirement home or nursing home. Conversation and preparation can ease your transition and provide you with greater peace of mind.