Bonnie D. Kupperman, Executive Editor of My Senior Portal, recently published an article called, “The Conversation.” The topic of that conversation is to determine the end of life wishes of parents and other elder loved ones. It is a very important conversation, indeed, and too infrequently held:
Numerous studies and anecdotal information clearly define how important making your wishes known are. Yet more than half of people surveyed say they have not communicated their wishes. A survey of Californians by the California Health Care Foundation 2012 reported that while 82% of people say it is important to put their wishes in writing, only 23% have actually done it.
There are some good resources to help families have that conversation, including a “starter kit.” We absolutely endorse families having this discussion, early and on a recurring basis – wishes can change, after all.
There is another conversation, however, that, in our experience, is even more neglected. That is the conversation of how to manage the very difficult experience of aging that, paradoxically, we (almost) all hope we have to face.
When we at Support For Home In-Home Care talk to seniors and families, we frequently find that, yes, a trust and will is in place, with trustees named, asset plans in place and end of life wishes detailed, via an Advance Healthcare Directive. What we see far less often is the equivalent of that plan, documented in what we call an Advance Living Directive.
I have written many times, in these “pages,” about the lack of planning which we do about our future aging. We plan sooooo much in our lives – school, marriage, where we live, where we work, when we will retire and what we will do when we retire, if and where we want to be buried, … But retirement just begins what we would call the true aging process. There is a lot more in front of us, once that transition point is reached.
That is why we developed the (free) tool we call the Advance Living Directive. It is so important a conversation for us to have with ourselves and with our loved ones, but it is a tough conversation to have – and it gets harder, the longer we postpone it. I encourage you to do a search for our articles on the Advance Living Directive, beyond the link to the tool, above. Yes, end of life is a critical conversation to have, but let’s not ignore the aging process that get’s us there.