My parents are at the age where the roles are starting to reverse in our relationship. My days off are spent taking my parents to doctor appointments, grocery shopping and places where they would like to go. The shift is happening gradually, but it is happening. Both of my parents have conditions that make having quality care a priority for them. My role up until this time has been a God-given one, daughter. I am the daughter of two loving parents who have spent the last twenty-three years making numerous sacrifices to ensure my health and overall wellbeing. However, recently my role has transitioned into a legal one as well; Heath Care Agent.
My Mother recently informed me that she’d scheduled an Advance Care Planning meeting and that she’d like to name my sister and me as Health Care Agents. Health Care Agents have the power of attorney in the case a loved one is unable to make decisions for themselves. When I attended the meeting with her I did not know what to expect outside of two major topics: life support and organ donation. In reality Advance Care Planning pertains to so much more, it is a philosophy of life. The aforementioned topics were covered, but the other questions asked made me realize the importance of having a written, legally binding plan in place. The other questions asked included the following among others:
◾What is a peaceful death?
◾In the case that you are unable to speak, what would you like your loved ones to know?
Both are things that I have never truly thought about. I would assume that my family would know what I would like, but we all know the saying about assumptions. While we can never fully plan and prepare for everything, having a living document that outlines as much of your wishes as possible can provide help to those who love you.
Like most people who go through this process, I hope that I never have to perform my duty of Health Care Agent. I wish that my Mother will live for forever and ever. However that is not reality, I find comfort in knowing that she has made her wishes known.
* To find out more about Advance Care Planning ask your physician about it at your next doctor appointment to see what services are available to you.*