Life’s demands keep many people so busy that they only find time to visit dear family members and friends once a year, around the holidays. For others, that’s the only time that busy family members and friends have time to visit them!
Around the Thanksgiving dinner table, we catch up on what’s been happening in one another’s lives and happily relive fond memories of times past. One thing we don’t often discuss is the future and how we’d like our family and friends to handle a situation in which we’re seriously ill or injured.
The holiday season might seem like a strange time to talk about advanced care planning, but it actually makes sense. People are together, they’re not distracted by the mundane demands of everyday happenings and they have time to really talk to one another.
To guarantee your quality of life regardless of what the future holds, learn about your options and communicate your healthcare wishes to your family members. Doing so guarantees that no matter what circumstances arise, your preferences guide decisions.
Making these decisions for yourself is also a kindness to your loved ones because if you don’t leave instructions, they’ll have to guess at your preferences.
While the benefits of advanced care planning are undeniable, taking action can be difficult. “Advance care planning can be an emotional subject, so our goal has always been to create a level of comfort surrounding end-of-life issues and encourage people in our community to begin having these important conversations with their family members,” says Susan de Cuba, president and CEO of Treasure Health. “The best time to make plans for your care or the care of a loved one is before you are faced with a medical crisis.”
Here’s some basic information to get you started and to help you secure peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.
This is what you ultimately want to create: an advance directive is a written statement that describes your wishes, preferences, and choices regarding end-of-life health care decisions. It’s a tool that can help you think through and communicate your choices so they’re accessible to concerned parties in the event that you’re unable to speak for yourself.
What to Include
Some of the things to consider during advance care planning that you might want to include in your advance directive are:
Consider Using “Five Wishes” To Get Started
“Five Wishes” is an easy-to-use legal document template written in simple language that helps you plan and communicate how you want to be cared for if you become seriously ill. It helps you express your desires in personal, spiritual, medical and legal matters and meets the legal requirements for an advance directive in 42 states including Florida.
Carefully planning what you would want in the event of a life-limiting illness helps ensure that your care is in keeping with your values and that your wishes are respected. By having those conversations when you’re all together, you can give yourself and your family peace of mind and clarity, regardless of what the future holds.
If you want to learn more about Five Wishes, talk about advanced care planning or schedule a presentation for your group or community, Treasure Health can help. Visit treasurehealth.org/service/community-education to get started.