Peace through Care Planning
We all deserve peace at the end of life. Care planning can help assure that we find that peace.
The four components of solid care planning are
- Chose the best person(s) to make care decisions for you
- Document your choices, making them official in an up-to-date health care power of attorney / advance directive document.
- Communicate with those you’ve chosen. And tell everyone else know about the person(s) you’ve chosen.
- Keep things up to date.
More info . . .
Choosing the best person
If you become incapacitated (unable to speak or make decisions), someone else will need to make care decisions on your behalf. You can choose in advance who that person will be. That’s the best way to obtain the care you would want and avoid what you wouldn’t want.
Don’t assume that the best person will be put in charge of your care decisions.
Advance directives are crucial and valuable, and an excellent way to name who will speak for you.
The success of an advance directive depends on the person named in the advance directive to make care decisions. In other words, an advance directive is only as effective as the person you name.
See this free and simple 2-page guide to help you choose the right person. Key selection factors: legal age; clearheadedness; availability; communicating about personal things; asserting and persuading; honoring your wishes.
Documenting / making official
Make your selections official in an up-to-date Health Care Power of Attorney / Advance Directive document. You can do this yourself, just follow the instructions carefully.
In the document name your top three in priority order (first, then second, then third). If you don’t have three, name two. If you don’t have two, name one.
Do not name co-agents with equal authority (equal authority can lead to a stand-off).
It’s also important to think and communicate about what’s important to you, and to keep that up to date. Here’s a handy one-page template for sorting out what’s important to you. With the template you sit down and list up to ten things that are important to you (the template has a few examples). Then you set it aside for a day or so, coming back and crossing off half of the items — refining what’s most important to you.
Communicate with those you’ve selected. Let them know what’s important to you, your wishes, what you care about, what makes life worth living. Have a real heart-to-heart discussion.
Down the road (every year or so, or when there are changes in your life), review and update your selections. And update your heart-to-heart discussion.
Additional resource: Peace at the End
The Peace at the End project pulls together information and resources on care planning and decision-making.