There are things we all need to plan for, be prepared for, and know where to find things in the event of an unseen emergency, illness or accident. Age does not dictate the need – being prepared does. I am talking about health directives, financial directives and end of life issues.
Generally, these items are referred to as advance directives. Initiating conversations with friends and family about who will do what, what you want, and where to find important papers is so important. If you have ever been in a situation where there was an emergency, the last thing you need to have happen is to not find what you are looking for: Insurance cards, health care proxy, medication and health lists-all these are important in an emergency. How prepared are you? Planning in advance, will save time and help you manage these documents when you need them.
Eldercare locator has a great publication about all things health, financial, legal and end of life. It is called “Let’s Talk” and can be found on the web at eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Resources/Brochures/docs/Conversations.pdf
This resource helps to guide families and friends through a conversation and start to identify what is important to and important for their loved ones. It reminds us to discuss where documents are kept like health records, health care proxies, insurance information, medication list and powers of attorney. It also recommends other publications to help have this conversation with your medical providers. AARP has a Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families. There are many resources on line and from different agencies.
A Power of attorney is used to help manage property matters and financial directives. An estate will helps to identify belongings that will be passed on to others. Advance directives clearly outline the type of care you wish to have if you get significantly ill and cannot speak for yourself. A health care proxy can make the medical decisions necessary if you cannot speak for yourself. Trusts are a way to manage resources like property. The MOLST form is used in nursing home, hospitals and Hospice care settings. A community Do Not Resuscitate is discussed and initiated by your primary care physician to prevent CPR by emergency personal in your home.
Chautauqua County NY Connects program can provide Information and Assistance on available long-term services and supports options to the older population, individuals of all ages with disabilities, and caregivers. Information and Assistance is available in various ways including telephone access, face-to-face meetings in the community, or email. NY Connects can accessed through its statewide telephone number (800-342-9871), which connects callers with local offices by county. If you need to information for programs, services, benefits or entitlements, you can call the Chautauqua County NY Connects program. There is an online resource tool called the NY Connects Resource directory. Go to www.nyconnects.ny.gov. to take a look.
Take the time to talk with family and friends about what is important to you regularly! It is a conversation that should be revisited regularly-things change and the conversation needs to continue. The Eldercare locator recommends reviewing your plan using the 5 “D’s”: every decade, after the death of a loved one, after a divorce, after a significant diagnosis and after any significant decline. As tough as it may seem to initiate these type of conversations, your family and friends will thank you for sharing and caring and preparing them for what may come. These conversations bring people closer; just knowing that you can depend on someone is invaluable. Take the time-talk about emergencies!
There are NY Connects programs located with the Office for Aging Services and the SouthWestern independent Living Center. You can reach NY Connects by phone: 716-753-4582, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Southwestern Independent Living NY Connects at 716-661-3010 or 716-490-7561.
The state NY Connects Resource Directory can be found at www.nyconnects.ny.gov.