End-of-life discussions are often sensitive, and it’s common for seniors to have wishes that are not aligned with their family’s desires. As you begin this difficult conversation, use the following tips to respect your aging loved one’s wishes even when you may not fully agree.
1. Plan Early When Possible
Your loved one may have certain preferences for end-of-life care. For instance, your parent may prefer to have a professional tend to his or her needs to alleviate the burden on your family. However, you may find it difficult to trust your loved one’s judgment if he or she is in the final stages of dementia. Begin talking about end-of-life care arrangements early on so you never doubt what your loved one wants.
A senior’s end-of-life care arrangements should only be placed in the hands of a professionally trained caregiver from a reputed home care agency. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide home care. Conway families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
2. Use Open-Ended Questions
Don’t try to force your opinions on your loved one when he or she cannot come up with some end-of-life wishes. Initiate the topic of end-of-life care by using open-ended questions that do not pressure your loved one to say what you may want to hear. Remember this is ultimately your loved one’s decision, and your role is to find out what he or she needs.
3. Remember Your Priority Is Your Loved One
A senior’s end-of-life wishes may include things such as how much medical intervention he or she wants in the future, as well as plans for burial or cremation. Talking to your family members about these issues may raise some differing opinions, but you can pull everyone together by remembering your priority. When everyone agrees your loved one’s comfort and happiness are the ultimate goals, it becomes easier to respect requests you may not understand.
Some seniors want to remain as independent as possible even during the last stages of life. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Conway seniors can depend on.
4. Seek Legal Assistance
Your loved one’s end-of-life care may go easier when you have the legal paperwork in place. Once your loved one makes his or her wishes known, seek legal assistance to draft documents that outline important information such as who has power of attorney over health and finances. Your family members may benefit from knowing there is a set of procedures in place for the day when he or she is no longer capable of acting independently. If going to the lawyer isn’t possible, writing a list can help you remember what your loved one wants toward the end of life.
5. Make Sure to Follow Through
The ultimate opportunity to respect your loved one’s wishes occurs when they must be carried out. Make sure to appoint a member of your family to be the final decision maker regarding difficult parts of the care such as when it’s time to turn off the life support. While it isn’t easy, knowing you helped your loved one approach the end of life with dignity allows you to begin the process of healing.
Older adults who want to live longer, healthier, and happier lives can benefit from professional in-home care. Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated elderly care, Conway, AR, families can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise. To learn about our high-quality in-home care plans, give us a call at (501) 764-1312 today.