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Posts Tagged ‘advance directives’

The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to consider those things you have been putting off. I heard last week that two of the greatest gifts you can give the next generation are organized, digitized photos and your advance care directives. If you are like 70 percent of Americans, then you are without an advance care plan. Advance directives provide you with the opportunity to express your end-of-life wishes in writing.

Every adult, no matter how young or how old, should consider advance care planning. This includes what you want to happen if you are not able to make your own medical decisions. There are some key parts to advance care planning including designating a Health Care Power of Attorney and completing advance directives like a Living Will, donor registry, and declaration for funeral arrangements.  

The Conversation Project from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement has a helpful resource available called “How to Choose a Health Care Proxy.” A health care proxy is also known as a health care agent or power of attorney for health care. This person is the one who will speak for you when you are unable to speak for yourself. This resource walks you through several things to consider in choosing a person and how to have the conversation with them.

Another excellent resource is from The Ohio Hospital Association called “Choices: Living Well at the End of Life.” Because this is an Ohio specific publication, it contains forms that can be completed here in Ohio. It also clearly explains the differences between a Health Care Power of Attorney and a Living Will. A Health Care Power of Attorney provides an agent with the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf, access your records, set up appointments, choose which doctors see you, and more. This is different from a Financial Power of Attorney, which allows a person of your choosing to make financial decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make them.  

A Living Will is only used in situations when you are unable to tell your physician what kind of health care services you want to receive. For it to go into effect, you must be terminally ill and unable to tell your physician your wishes or permanently unconscious. A Living Will may include a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Order for a person who does not wish to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). It may also include wishes about comfort care and nutrition and hydration. A Living Will takes precedence over a Health Care Power of Attorney.

It is a good idea to have both documents, as they each address different aspects of your care. Any document you sign must be in accordance with the specific language spelled out in the Ohio Revised Code. You can obtain standard forms online that you can complete and have notarized. You may also consult with an attorney for assistance.

“Have a conversation with your family about your end-of-life wishes while you are healthy. No one wants to have that discussion… but if you do, you’ll be giving your loved ones a tremendous gift, since they won’t have to guess what your wishes would have been, and it takes the onus of responsibility off of them.”

Jodi Picoult

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Kathy Tutt, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Clark County

Sources:

The Conversation Project https://theconversationproject.org/

Ohio Hospital Association: Advance Directives https://ohiohospitals.org/News-Publications/Publications/Advance-Directives

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There are several ways that we can help our future self with better planning and preparation today.

A couple of years ago I started to hear and read what was a new phrase for me: Future Self. The older I get, the more I consider how the things I do today will affect who I am tomorrow. And that may just be the definition of maturity.

This is by no means a complete list of everything to consider for your future self. But as we enter full swing into a season when we are encouraged to immerse ourselves in indulgence, may this be an inspiration (and even permission) to be kind to your future self. Here are some themes that I am currently tackling or have on my list to accomplish in the coming year.

Meal planning: The stress of quickly coming up with dinner once I get home from work results in a not-so-fun-mom. I’m sure that once upon a time I was better at planning out meals for the week ahead. So a present for my future self is to make meal planning a routine habit. My goal is to sit down the last week of each month and plan for the next month. That may sound like a lot, but as a co-parent with tween kids, we always know about 90% of our schedule for the next month. Planning this way allows me to see which days should be a slow cooker meal, which evenings we can cook together in the kitchen, and which nights are going to be a creative use of leftovers. There are some great resources to give you a planning template, menu idea inspiration and some recipes to vary your protein, which could be just what you need for a change of pace.

Family meetings: We recently started doing this at our house. My oldest chairs the meeting and the youngest takes minutes. It keeps them engaged and gives us some great laughs. Our main goal is to discuss our calendar for the next month. It has significantly reduced the night before realization that there is a schedule conflict tomorrow. We also talk through expenses that are coming up and how are we are doing with our budget. Here are some other good tips for family meetings.

If not now, then when?: Planning is a theme here. I recently taught a money management class to a group of employees at a local manufacturing company. During the last lesson we discussed several of the things that we know are important, but since they don’t seem urgent, we don’t act on them. Having advance directives like a living will, identifying power of attorney, and understanding life insurance are examples of things that your future self and your family will appreciate.

Exercise: Since turning 40 I know that I am more physically fit than I have probably ever been in my life. I made the choice to make it a priority. I thought about the future self I wanted. Not to fit into a certain size clothing. My goal is have a healthy lifestyle that gives me the best opportunity to live long enough to be a part of my great-grandchildren’s lives.  It is never too late to increase your physical activity . It can be one of the best presents you give to your future self.  

Sources:

Galloway, A and Starnes, J. Advance Directives. University of Tennessee Extension at https://farmlandlegacy.utk.edu/pubs/AdvancedDirectivesSP743C_Gray.pdf

Iowa State University Extension (2016) 5-Day Meal Planning Worksheet. at https://iastate.app.box.com/s/nwecdndbm5ighioz3suu

Iowa State University Extension (2016) Meal Planning Calendar. at https://iastate.app.box.com/s/6a073s9g34gfia0thev88mu1bp4rzfw2

Kansas State University Research and Extension Department of Human Nutrition. Vary Your Protein Recipe Series. at https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/humannutrition/nutrition-topics/eatingwell-budget/meals-documents/VYPRecipeBook.pdf

McCoy, J. Family Meetings Foster Good Communications. University of Illinois Extension Parenting Again Newsletter Issue 29. at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/grandparents/article.cfm?ID=5171&IssueID=5213

Rapaport, L. (2019) Maintaining or starting exercise in middle life tied to longer life at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-fitness-middle-age/maintaining-or-starting-exercise-in-middle-age-tied-to-longer-life-idUSKCN1UC2E9

Rivette, C. (2013, June 15) Planning ahead: Power of attorney – part 1. Michigan State University Extension at https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/planning_ahead_power_of_attorney_part_1

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/board-school-forward-front-2525247/

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Belmont County

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