I think my kids are ready to have a “talk” with me. I’m living on my own quite happily but they are worried that its only a matter of time before something not so nice happens. Any suggestions?
As we age and the potential for challenges increases, there will be a need to have “The Talk.” This discussion with those who care about you should detail the anticipated outcomes in your own affairs, health and safety. It is about being proactive, not reactive.
Key areas to consider include:
• Accommodation – how long can you remain independent in your own home or in a seniors’ residence? If you are still living at home, what would trigger a need for additional support or home care services? When do you feel is the right time to move to a seniors’ residence or long term care?
• Responsibility for maintenance around the house— is your family able to help you out or should you hire someone to cut the grass and shovel the walk?
• Finances – how much do you have in savings? Are family members willing, and able, to contribute to home-care, a retirement residence, or, if necessary, long-term care? Do you have insurance? Are you up-to-date on what is/isn’t covered?
• Health and wellness – In the event of life-saving measures, what medical interventions does you want in place? Do you want specific time-lines attached to them? Is a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) in place? A DNR Form is a request not to have any CPR administered to restore cardiac or respiratory functions.
• To which extent are life support measures to be in place? Discontinued? Who has been designated as the Power of Attorney (POA) in the event you are unable direct your care or have life support measures discontinued? A Power of Attorney kit can help you to identify your wishes for your personal care and your care of property. A POA provides a person, designated by you, with the capacity to make health care decisions, on your behalf, should you become mentally incapable of doing so, yourself.
• End of life. What are end of life wishes? Funeral? Service? How will the costs be covered? Consider using “My Own Voice” to record and share.
• Having these discussions with your adult children, caregiver, and or power of attorney enables you to have an open dialogue about how they can support your wishes while being realistic as to what capacity they are capable of offering in terms of support.
If you’d like, a professional health care agency can draw up a personalized care plan for you.
Is it possible to provide dementia or Alzheimer’s care at home?
A diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s is life changing for both the individual with the disease and their family and loved ones. Providing care for someone living with this disease is not a simple task and can place a great deal of stress on the whole family. In the early stages of dementia, things can be easily managed and the individual may feel everything is under control but as the disease progresses so does the degree of care needed. This sometimes even leads to the need for 24/7 assistance.
Some of the symptoms of dementia that can make the provision of care challenging include: memory loss, difficulty completing tasks, reduced reasoning, communication problems, mood changes, forgetful of family/ friends, and loss of coordination and ability to perform activities of daily living.
There is help available. Visit your local Alzheimer’s Society in person or check on-line.
The questions in this issue were answered by the experts at Bayshore Home Health. Visit bayshore.ca.