While many individuals have strong feelings and desires for how they want to live out their later years, most do not take the time to have important conversations or write down their wishes. Advance Care Planning is the process of evaluating and communicating your beliefs, values, and what matters most to you as you age. It is an ongoing process, as our goals and priorities change through different stages of life and may be impacted by individual health conditions.
The most important legal component of Advance Care Planning is careful selection and appointment of a healthcare agent in an Advance Healthcare Directive. Selection of this person should be a carefully thought-out process in determining who is capable and willing to make life-altering decisions for you when you cannot make them for yourself. Continued discussion and communication with your healthcare agent is essential to having your wishes understood and honored.
While Advance Care Planning can be a sensitive and emotional discussion, being proactive can prevent unwarranted or unnecessary medical treatment that does not align with your wishes. If you are facing a serious diagnosis, Advance Care Planning is vital in discussing future health limitations, goals of care, and treatment preferences. In these cases, your healthcare providers should also meet with your healthcare agent to create a care plan that aligns with your values and preferences.
Advance Care Planning can also include decisions regarding your future living situation. Your views on senior living or home care are of great importance in evaluating circumstances to best guide you and your support network. Having a plan in place and reviewing available options will make any sudden or necessary changes feel less stressful and overwhelming.
You can get a head start now by writing down your wishes for the future on a sheet of paper. Consider your preferences for your medical, financial, and living arrangements. Once you have your list started, conversations with potential healthcare agents and the completion of an Advance Healthcare Directive will be a natural next step. For further information on Advance Care Planning, please contact Solo Aging Solutions, LLC at 805-728-9800.