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How to Discuss End-of-Life Care with a Loved One

End-of-life care is a sensitive topic many people put off discussing out of fear they may upset their aging loved one. However, knowing your senior loved one’s preferences will be respected toward the end of his or her life can be reassuring for both your loved one as well as the family.

While seniors are often willing to talk about their wishes, they may also be hesitant to broach the topic themselves. Albuquerque senior care experts suggest looking for an opening such as a movie or news story pertaining to end-of-life care that can act as a springboard for the discussion. Alternatively, simply ask permission to initiate the conversation, and move forward with the discussion while keeping these tips in mind.

Listen Without Judgment
During the conversation, it is important to show support for your loved one by focusing on his or her preferences for care. There may be times when you disagree with a decision, but it is essential to remember respecting his or her desires is the reason why you are having this discussion in the first place. Even after the conversation is over, it is possible to alter the plan if your loved one has a change of heart. Make sure to give your loved one plenty of time to think about decisions, and be prepared to continue the discussion at a later date should your loved one become tired or emotional.

Things to Discuss
It is important to let the conversation flow naturally. However, there are some important points to discuss regarding your loved one’s physical, emotional and financial needs. Among these are:

  • Medical information such as insurance plans, physician contact information and preferred hospital
  • Living will
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Trusts
  • Location of essential documents such as car titles, birth and marriage certificates, and mortgages
  • Important milestones your loved one still wants to achieve

Document the Conversation
Many aspects of end-of-life care have legal issues to consider. For this reason, you and your loved one will need to document any decisions made. Advanced directives, such as a living will or the appointment of a durable power of attorney, can ensure your loved one’s desires are carried out should he or she become incapacitated. If your loved one changes his or her mind during later discussions, remember to update these documents so they will reflect the new plan. Once the important decisions have been made, continue to make end-of-life and ongoing care an open topic between you and your loved one.

It’s also important to discuss care in the event your loved one is diagnosed with an advanced condition like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. If your senior loved one falls into the majority, he or she will most likely desire to age in place with the help of Alzheimer’s home care in Albuquerque. Getting ongoing care decisions in writing as well can prevent disagreements among family members in the future and ensure your loved one’s wishes are protected.

For more information on care services in your area, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are the leading provider of part-time and 24-hour care in Albuquerque. Call 505-798-0800 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation with an experienced Care Manager.