All our lives, it seems like we are constantly planning for the future. When we’re young, we work hard in school and make plans to attend college or start a career. We get a little older and make plans to save up for a home and start a family. Then there are savings plans for retirement and dreams of what we will do when we are no longer tied down to having to go to work every day. All of those things are somewhat easy to plan for. It’s the naturally progression of life, we know the future is coming whether we like it or not and it’s always good to be prepared. But there is something else that’s extremely important to plan for, and it’s something many people put off — end of life plans. These documents, such as a living will and power of attorney, clearly state how you want your healthcare to progress if you can’t speak for yourself, and who you want to make those decisions. End of life planning gets put off because people don’t like to think about dying. But we all want to make sure our final days are met with dignity and in the atmosphere that we envision.
In our work with clients who are dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or meeting the challenges of terminal illnesses, we see every day the stress that these progressive illnesses can bring, and the toll it can take on our client and their family. Having all of your end of life plans in place, having had the discussions with your family members and loved ones and being clear that everyone is on the same page with how things should go in the event that a person can no longer make decisions for themselves, can take some of that stress away. We are lucky to have some wonderful resources in our area to help you with the process of having these discussions and getting your living will and power of attorney in order. Here at Piedmont Home Health, we often refer people to the services provided by Trellis Supportive Care. They have a well-educated staff who can help you with what you need even if you are not a patient of hospice at the time.
There are also some wonderful resources available at the website, GotPlans123.org. Created through a partnership between Hospice & Palliative CareCenter, Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health, this project includes a website with information about how to start the discussion of end of life planning and create the necessary documents, as well as workshops that are conducted around the Triad to help people in the community with the task of making end of life plans.
This is an important process for everyone, and something that should not be put off until it is too late.