What Do Mom and Dad Want?

In the college application process, you don’t apply for admission and pack the car the week before classes start. It just doesn’t work that way. The same strategy holds true in the planning process for elder care needs.

Every family has unique needs and wants. Some elders insist on remaining in their long-time family home as long as they live, and others find more security and satisfaction in elder communities or assisted living facilities. It’s a very personal decision. Some elders feel strongly about “never being hooked up to a machine,” while others want full medical treatment and intervention – even if it means life support.

Making the right decision.

If you are a Health Care Proxy agent for your senior loved one, you may be handed the reins and be expected to make very significant decisions. Talk about pressure! In the transfer of decision making, most family members would love a “road map” from the loved one they represent – a sense of what is and what is NOT wanted.

Having these conversations are not easy, but they are so very necessary. You don’t want to be in the driver’s seat when important medical or care decisions need to be made, without your loved-one’s wishes being clearly known and understood.

Losing Control.

The number one fear that our elder loved ones have is losing control… control over their independence, losing their ability to drive, losing control over their body or mind, and having someone else make a decision for them that they do NOT want. And yet, so often, this is precisely how one loses control. There are many things to consider as the needs of elders increase, and managing at home, on their own, becomes more difficult:

  • What medical treatments are options for the conditions your loved one has?

  • Does the elder and family fully understand the impact of treatment or lack of treatment?

  • Who have they selected for a Proxy decision maker? Is that person really suited and able to serve in that capacity?

  • How and who will meet the daily needs that are a challenge now and may increase in the future?

  • Are we able to navigate these conversations, or do we need help?

Trusted others, who have travelled this journey time and time again, can be very helpful as you start your own family processing of these very difficult issues. Aberdeen Home Care has experienced elder care managers that can help you and your family get started. However you choose to begin this process, know that it is not easy, it’s different for every family, and it’s never too soon to start this important conversation.

Written by Joanne MacInnis, RN and Certified Dementia Practitioner.

Originally published in the Manchester Cricket Newspaper, May 2018. 

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