Making sure we have the right information
Sometimes even our medical doctor does not know
We have known for years; we would have to be, or in many cases want to be, there for our parents as they were aging. At the very least, this information will help answer the hard questions. Hopefully, questions answered previously and with thought, before hand, will be covered in a Durable Power of Attorney. A Durable Power of Attorney does not express our wishes rather the complete wishes of the person. Helping to answer, when the time comes, help execute “Their ” if this is an another part of this work to be done. If we have not done so, please do so immediately. Should an explanation be necessary, it will become apparent soon enough.
Time to manage the choices and family solutions when necessary. Who is or has been selected to answer the hard questions? Knowing the options is the critical part of the situation. Life has, up until now, been simple enough in the area of answering questions for the well-being of others. Hopefully, by now a discussion has brought a comfort and learned knowledge of these wishes and learned to separate theirs wants from our belief system. Think about this; while contemplating someone's mortality. More than mortality, it compels us to answer questions that surround competency. Today competency is found diminished with many diseases, not the least of which is dementia. The situation and thoughts are often uncomfortable. On some level we all know that one day life ceases to exist, calling it death, great sleep, lights out, taking the big dive or whatever we want to call it. A discussion about competency takes on a different path; while not making the decision at the end of life, now the discussions surround how much medical intervention is necessary and wanted.
Less likely are the considerations mentioned above when looking at our generation, after all the younger generation has many more years. And new medical breakthroughs giving way to new diagnosis and conditions that people live with for a very long time. And any one of these conditions can and often do contain ‘dementia’ in the list of side-effects or possible associated conditions. Has there been a decrease or increase in the knowledge of life-long or end of life decisions?
Now is the time to beginning the planning what and how to tell those who will be responsible for us. Not one of us in has been promised a specific number of years, minutes or seconds in this life. Waiting until we feel the inclination or need, frequently, leads to forgotten or wrongly interrupted meanings and wishes.
Where to begin, it would be best to sit with a spouse, very best friend, clergy or attorney to help and stimulate the conversation. There are places to get a list of questions that are generic to begin the shaping of this discussion. And while no time is perfect, this conversation will not add to the merriment of a holiday festivity. If at all possible a family unit gathering is truly the best, so all are on the same page with answers. What one person won’t think of another will kind of philosophy can be applied here. Not having small children in this discussion will probably work best. I realize that the written letter is not fashionable today. The internet may give rise to more people than we would want to be involved in this very personal and intimate endeavor. Not to mention who will have access to the information.
Do not think a one-time sit down to answer some questions and check-in with all involved and that is it. The nature of creating this document is not just to see who will be there when you need someone to answer those questions. What the talk will do, if accomplished in the way it should, will stimulate conversation regarding this matter. Frequently, those in health care find when a person is very ill the immediate family and friends don’t have the slightest idea what the person would want. Many people today sit in their Primary Care Physician’s office and while waiting for the doctor, fill out a form which is meant to give facts regarding end-of-life or incapacitate to the degree of being unable to make critical choices.
This ‘form’ is just that and being a form means there is little room for exceptions to the stated solution. Educating ourselves in this experience of life is paramount. Many people just are not ready or trained in the medical care issues of a severely disabled or aging person. Look across the room, table, desk or any other distance
Which allows personal contact and by looking at this person do you know what they would want they would want in a medical situation. The scenario just described each day is what those in the medical community face every day. Many will find this humorous because it is an uncomfortable position. Try to outline what is most important in your life or a person in the family, so this will be more commonplace for future situations.