Unfortunately, there are times when decisions about treatments for older adults must be made when they are unable to do so. (This could be due to a serious illness or even some types of medications.) Advance directive forms make it easier for family and friends to make these medical decisions for loved ones. These forms can help a healthcare provider recommend treatments matching the person’s wishes.
Talking about advance directives and end-of-life care with a loved one is not a pleasant topic for either one of you. It is best to complete the process when your loved one is well, allowing them time to reflect, consider their values and treatment preferences and talk with you (the caregiver) and healthcare providers.
If you are in a caregiver-type situation, encourage your loved one to have a discussion with a healthcare provider about advance care planning. Your goals as a caregiver should be to get them to think about planning for the future, listen to what their care goals and values are, find out what your caregiver responsibilities would be if your loved one could no longer make their own healthcare decisions and encourage your loved one to start the advance care planning process.
To help accomplish these caregiver goals, know what resources are available to you and your loved one with advance care planning. Here is a list of advance care planning resources in Monterey County, California.
- Free, 45-minute online workshops from the Hospice Giving Foundation (schedule here)
- Free, online Advance Healthcare Planning workshops from the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (schedule here)
- The Hospice Giving Foundation online resource center
- PREPARE™ for Your Care online resource center
- Appointments with trained volunteers from Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (call 831-755-0772 to schedule)
Of course, we know being a caregiver is not always easy. Here are some community organizations and other resources offering support specifically for caregivers:
- Alzheimer’s Association California Central Coast Chapter
- Caregiver Action Network
- The Carmel Foundation (closed due to COVID-19)
- Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center
- VA Caregiver Support
You may also find value in some of our other Caregiver Resources blog posts.