“Hey Honey! Let’s sit down this weekend and plan for our final days!” is a phrase no one says. At least not with that amount of enthusiasm. It’s a subject no one wants to talk about, and yet, no one wants to spend their last days living a life they don’t want.
My parents have told me before, “Please don’t ever put me in a nursing home.” Perhaps you have similar wishes. I know I do! Taking time to sit down and plan out how you want to live and what you’re going to do to get there is really important in being proactive along the aging journey. Here’s four reasons to sit down with your spouse this weekend and have the conversation.
1 - Bucket list items
The trip to Machu Picchu, the pilot’s license, the room service at The Plaza Hotel. You know them - the open checkboxes you just haven’t gotten around to yet. Now’s the time to start planning for them!
This site gives some great tips about how to write your bucket list including ideas on how to make them real. If you’re unsure about what your list looks like, ask questions like:
What have you always wanted to do but haven’t done yet?
What are the health/social/family goals that you’ve always envisioned for yourself?
Is there something that you haven’t said to or done with friends and family, but want to?
2 - Living life the way you want
As we age, physical limitations and illnesses often drive our decisions. We may find ourselves needing more help around the house or even the health care provided in a senior living community. But the options aren’t limited to “nursing homes” anymore. There’s in-home options for care, residential-style senior living communities, assisted livings and more. Research the options now, before a crisis occurs. Make plans with a financial advisor to ensure you have the funds to make your ideal life possible.
3 - Letting your family know
Having the conversation about end-of-life with a loved one isn’t easy - especially if the conversation is with an aging loved one. But letting family members know your wishes and knowing your loved one’s wishes is an important step in realizing goals. For tips on how to have the conversation, visit Tabitha.org and download our free eBook series for a how-to guide and tips on having the conversation.
4 - Advanced directives
Advanced directives are two types of legal documents that allow you to designate a power of attorney for health care and a living will. Experts recommend all adults (not just Elders), complete these documents, just in case the unthinkable happens.
Power of Attorney for Health Care - allows you to appoint a person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
Living Will - records your wishes regarding medical treatments. Things like being kept on ventilators, feeding tubes, etc.
For more information on end-of-life planning, visit www.TabithaHospice.org. The site includes a link to download Nebraska’s Advanced Directives Planning Guide.