Franklin VNA & Hospice’s Health Corner – wellness tidbits to keep us all a little healthier
The last of our five-part series where we look at what it means to age in modern times and the steps we should take to make that process go how we want it to.
Preparing to Age, a Five Part Series: Pulling it all together
In the first four of our Preparing to Age series we introduced a few key topics to consider, here we’d like to review those topics and share a few final thoughts.
First, think about what you really want your future to look like. If staying at home as you age is a priority, take some easy steps now to ensure it remains a possibility. You can do this by first developing your Advance Directives. They are a set of guidelines that allow you to approve or decline certain types of medical care at end-of-life, called a Living Will, or guidelines that will help someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you if you have become unable to make those decisions yourself, called a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. AARP has a clear and easy set of forms here:
www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/relationships/caregiving/2015/ad/New-Hampshire-advance-directives-updated-2014-aarp.pdf. Remember, your Durable Power of Attorney should be someone you trust, someone who will stand up for your wishes, and someone who is willing to take responsibility for your healthcare decisions. Your Advance Directives are the roadmap for the DPOA you chose to follow so they can make the right decisions for you, and choose the treatment options you would choose for yourself.
Now, take a deep breath and think about Hospice. Hospice is a specialized type of care for those facing a life-limiting illness and supports the individual as well as their family and loved ones. Franklin VNA & Hospice has a moving video of Carol Stonemetz on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pg/FranklinVNAHospice/videos/ that speaks to how home Hospice affected both her life and that of her husband, Lee. You may not need Hospice for many years, but it should be included in your advance directives if faced with a life-limiting illness.
Far from giving up, Hospice is a choice to focus on quality of life and having your desire for it written out can help your DPOA and loved ones ensure your wishes are followed.
Now make sure you are connected to the resources you need, like ServiceLink to help with Medicare plans, a primary care provider to manage chronic illness, and a will or estate planner to make sure there are no financial pitfalls waiting to spoil your plans.
Next, take a close look around you at your home. Keep safety in mind as you consider how you would move around your home, cook, and care for yourself. If there is anything that makes doing those things difficult it impossible, make a plan to change them. Looking for solutions now? A visit from a physical or occupational therapist for a home safety evaluation is one way to identify some of these issues, as they are trained to offer solutions for mobility and comfort. Interested people should speak with a health care provider to see if they qualify and get a referral. For those who do qualify, an assessment could be available through a visiting nurse association such as Franklin VNA & Hospice.
Lastly, call a meeting. Gathering your family and caregiver supports together in one place helps everyone have the same information about what you want as you age so there’s less chance of confusion later on. It also ensures you have followed the four suggestions above on ways to prepare to stay in your own home. We hope the series has been helpful, and that by following the suggestions in the articles, your desire to age in place can become a success.
You have a choice in your Homecare and Hospice provider.
Choose local. Choose Franklin VNA & Hospice.
For more information, call Franklin VNA & Hospice at (603) 934-3454 or visit www.FranklinVNA.org.