There's a saying that life comes at you fast. Disease and death, to name a few. When that happens, can you advocate for your medical care? Or how to handle your finances? Would you know how to advocate for a loved one? That's why everyone needs a care plan, a document that specifies the needs and wishes of you or your loved one--financial, medical, and legal.Find the Next "Creating a Care Plan" Workshop
Start with a Conversation
All care plans start with a conversation - with your loved one or yourself- and getting started can often be uncomfortable. But it's important to have conversations about end-of-life wishes. That means it can be an ongoing process; as the needs of your loved ones will change--and they will, the care plan has to change with it.
Before the Conversation
The first step in creating a care plan is understanding the current and future needs of your loved ones. This can start by talking and asking questions. In preparing for a life-planning conversation with your loved one about their wishes or your own, you may find certain information useful. Here are some details you might want to collect through personal observations, input from others, or even some research.
Start by talking and asking questions. In preparing for a life-planning conversation with your loved one about their wishes or your own, you may find certain information useful.
Once you've have gathered some information, it’s time to determine your priorities. What are your most important concerns? What's most urgent? What do you need to address first?
During and After the Conversation
During the conversation, speak from the heart. Remember why you're there. Take breaks when/if you need them. It can be uncomfortable, and it can also opportunity to connect on a new level with your loved one. It's important to complete the documentation of their wishes. Life is unpredictable, but having these documents in place ensures their wishes are honored and reduces the decision-making burden on caregivers.
Acknowledge your own experience, as well as that of your loved one. Speak from the heart. Involve key people in decision-making, such as family members, friends, medical providers, financial advisers, or legal representatives.
Complete & Share Documents
There are two types of documents. Ones that designate someone to act on behalf of your loved one when they are incapacitated (i.e., power of attorney), and others describe their wishes in detail (i.e., living will). This ensures your loved one's wishes are honored.
Schedule Next Conversation
Whether you have other caregiving, financial, or legal matters that need to be discussed, schedule that next conversation. Caregiving situations can change quickly and the care plan documents need to change with it.
The process of establishing a legal, medical, or financial power of attorney is subject to state-specific laws. Be sure to check the requirements for your state(s) of residence.
In having caregiving conversations, financial considerations are likely to arise. These conversations may range from how to manage and protect money and rectify debt to how to pay for caregiving expenses. Creating a checklist of financial considerations to review can help guide these conversations.
There are several different types of Health Care Advance Directives, each outlining specific medical instructions about what one wants and does not want. Health Care Advance Directives are also called medical advance directives or end-of-life documents. Health Care Advance Directives outline one’s medical wishes in the case of incapacitation.